Pennsylvania divorce: Breaking the news to the kids
Breaking the news of a divorce to the kids can be particularly difficult, however, there are things that parents can do to help lessen the sting.
For many people in Pennsylvania, making the decision to divorce is one of the most difficult of their lives. As challenging as that can be, however, breaking the news of the end of a marriage to the kids is often even harder. While there is no perfect way for parents to handle this conversation, there are things they can do to help ease the blow.
Make sure the plans are final
Sometimes, people may be considering divorce, but are still trying to work things out. The Huffington Post warns parents against telling their children about their plans to divorce until the decision is final. This may help them avoid unnecessarily upsetting or scaring the kids.
Plan what to say
Telling their children that they are getting divorced may be one of the most difficult conversations that some parents will ever have with their children. Thus, it is advisable that they plan what they are going to say to them before sitting down. Doing so may help them to convey the messages that they think are important for their kids to hear.
Tell the kids together
When the time comes to tell the kids about their plans, it is suggested that both parents do so together. Additionally, they should talk to them as if the decision was jointly made, even if it was not. Parents magazine points out that this may help parents to put their children’s minds at ease, and show them that they will still be able to parent together.
Tell all of the children
Some parents think it best to only tell their older children of their plans to divorce, leaving the younger children in the dark. However, Psychology Today advises against this. Rather, it is recommended that parents initially break the news to all of their children at once. They may then choose to speak individually with each child to answer questions and address concerns. By telling all of the kids at the same time, parents can avoid putting an unnecessary burden on their older children.
Be prepared to answer questions
When people tell their children that they are planning to divorce, it is common for them to have a range of questions. They may wonder where they will live, how the visitation arrangements will work or if they will have to change schools. Some kids may want to know what happened, or if they are to blame. Although answering such questions may be uncomfortable, parents should refrain from brushing them off or avoiding them. Instead, it is important for parents to answer as openly and honestly as they can, or feel is appropriate given their children’s ages and maturity levels.
Avoid blaming and bad mouthing
Due to the circumstances that led to their divorce, some parents may feel angry or upset with each other at the end of a marriage. While this is normal, Psychology Today points out that parents should be mature when talking to their kids about the divorce. Blaming or bad mouthing each other may only increase their children’s anxiety, or make them feel like they have to choose a side.
Working with an attorney
Divorces in Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, are sometimes contentious. This may draw out the process, which may only serve to further upset the children who are involved. Thus, parents who are considering a divorce may benefit from obtaining legal representation. An attorney may help guide them through the legal process, and negotiate on their behalf.