Perhaps you and your partner have tried to salvage your marriage, but you realize it's time to divorce. The step is difficult enough for adults. For children, the thought of seeing their mom and dad split up can be even more frightening and confusing. Their sense of stability can be shaken, their allegiances tested, their psyches scarred. How can you tell your children about a pending divorce in a healthy way? Try these five steps:
¢ Don't keep the fact that you're getting a divorce a secret from your children. They're smarter than you think and will realize soon that something is afoot.
¢ Don't wait until you're about to sign the divorce papers to tell them, either. Your kids need time to adjust to the reality that mom and dad won't be living in the same house anymore and will begin new, separate lives.
¢ Tell your kids about the divorce together. Mom, don't tell Johnny on the way to soccer practice, and, dad, don't tell Jane on the way to a ballet recital. Your children should hear from the two of you together that your marriage is ending and that will bring about changes.
¢ Keep the reasons for the divorce simple. Don't delve into past wrongs or grievances. Don't tell your children that the reason for your divorce is that dad or mom has found someone younger or better.
¢ Tell them that the divorce is upsetting, and it will be sad. They also need to know that despite that you love them and will always be their mom and dad.