You’ve broken the news to your kids that you and your spouse are divorcing. It’s a big shock. Your kids are now entering a new phase of life.
The family is no longer intact and that uncertainty is scary for kids. But you need to be strong and confident for your kids and let them know that you will take care of them. You and your ex-spouse can take the right steps to soften the blow for the kids.
Issues on the top of kids’ minds
You should be prepared to answer a variety of questions for your kids. Many different thoughts and questions will be surging through your kids’ minds, and they want to be assured everything will be okay. You need to be open and transparent about the situation going forward. If you do not know all the answers, that’s fine and you should tell them so.
These are common topics:
- Living arrangements: You may not have figured out who will remain in the house and who will live in a separate household. If you have, you can explain your plans. But you want to be careful not to overwhelm your kids because the divorce news is shocking enough.
- Pets: If you have a dog, cat or another animal, the kids will want to know where the animal will live. In many cases, spouses allow the family pet to go with the kids in a shared-custody arrangement.
- School: Your kids are probably wondering if they will have to change schools or whether they will remain at their current school. If one spouse stays in the family home, the kids can attend their current school.
- Friends: Most parents want to minimize the disruption and trauma of a divorce. They will try to stay in the same area, so the kids can maintain their friendships. If the kids are moving out of the area, then you need to tell them.
Most kids are considering all these topics. And your kids may have many other questions, so be calm and compassionate when discussing the divorce with them. Your kids need to understand that the divorce was not their fault. In addition, you should explain it’s your intention to give them the same love and support.