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Explaining your Divorce to your Child

While divorce is not easy for anyone, it is especially difficult when children are involved. Often times we hear the saying, “stay together for the kids,” but time and time again it’s proven that “staying together for the kids” most often leads/prolongs a life of anger, stress, and regret. With that being said, it’s imperative to understand how to break the news to your children in the healthiest way. Below is a list of great tips to help you through the process:

1) Have both parents present (if possible)

When kids are involved, it’s important for parents to put aside their issues for the child’s sake, and together plan the best way to explain the divorce. Showing your child that you can work together, and will support one another through this conversation will help them to feel more comfortable to ask the questions they need to.

2) Have a game plan

It’s a good idea to have a plan of action before having the conversation. Your child may react one of many ways, and being aware of this will help to keep the conversation on a healthy/beneficial path. Showing your child you are in control of the situation can actually provide some comfort to them.

3) Stress that it is not their fault

The first person a child may blame is themselves. Make sure to express that it is not. This expression should be stated vocally, but also should continually be supported by both of the parent’s actions.

4) Confine negativity

This point should go without saying. Throughout the conversation (and on) negativity should be kept to a minimum. Children, whether they understand they are being affected or not, are saturated by the environment they are surrounded by. Having constant negativity surrounding them, especially when it’s about/from one of their parents can cause a great deal of pain.

5) Don’t use your child for support

Divorce can be extremely messy, and you may find yourself needing a support system. Whatever you do, don’t rely on your child for support. You are their support system. Putting your pain and stress onto them (on top of their own) can make the child feel like you are asking them to pick sides, and completely overwhelmed. Go to a therapist, or seek friends for help.

When children are involved in a divorce, the child should come first– no matter what. The memory of this conversation will stay with everyone involved for a lifetime. Trying to make it as healthy as possible may save your child from unnecessary turmoil.

Our Denver divorce lawyers at the Law Office of D.R. Jones have experience with many different kinds of divorce and child custody cases – ranging in complexity. We are aware of how difficult this time can be for anyone, and offer the legal support to our clients to alleviate as much stress as possible. If you are seeking legal advice, please do not hesitate to fill out our easy, online case review form or call our office at (720) 443-5576.

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