Parents in Pennsylvania who face the daunting task of telling their children that they are getting divorced may understandably feel their stomachs in knots when picturing the conversation. There is no easy way to break the news to kids that their parents will be splitting up but there are some things that moms and dads can do to prevent the experience from being worse or more difficult than it needs to be and to help children begin to process the changes to come.
Psychology Today advocates that parents have an initial conversation, like a family meeting, with all children present at one time. Certainly, children of different ages and different temperaments will react differently, understand differently and have unique concerns and questions. Many of these things can be addressed individually after the first communication about the divorce has been made to everyone.
Perhaps one of the biggest downsides to telling kids individually is that whichever child is told first must their bear the burden of keeping the secret until their siblings are let in on the news. That is unfair and can be very hard for kids.
Today’s Parent notes that once kids know about the divorce, age-appropriate conversations can begin. For very young children, these will be very focused around the children’s daily lives and likely require repetition. For older kids, reassurance that they are not to blame for the divorce will be essential. It may be difficult, but kids should be encouraged to share any feelings they have about the divorce.