If you’re one of many Colorado parents who recently made a decision to file for divorce, you may also be one of many who are worried about how their children will react to the news. It’s quite likely that your kids have a friend (or several) with divorced parents. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will make it any easier for your children to cope with your family’s situation; however, knowing that they have peers who can relate to their emotions can be a great comfort as you help your children move on in life.
Your children’s well-being is no doubt one of your highest priorities as you make plans for a new future. It’s true that kids often take their cues from their parents regarding how to act or not act in a particular situation. Therefore, the way you broach the topic will impact their ability to come to terms with your divorce. They will also be far more likely to reach out for support if they witness you doing the same, as needed.
Key factors to success
You know your children better than anyone, so you are ultimately the best resource for determining how to talk to your kids about divorce. However, the following information can also be useful as many other Colorado parents have obtained positive results by implementing one or more of these ideas:
- While you will likely have many private conversations with your children as you move closer toward your divorce settlement, you might want to have your first discussion with both parents present. This shows your kids that you and your ex are willing to work as a team for their sakes.
- Make sure your kids know that your initial conversation need not be the last. Remind them that the doors to communication are always open and they can come to you at any time when they have questions or want to share their feelings.
- Many parents find it helpful to inform their children’s teachers or coaches, etc., before they tell their kids they are getting divorced. This helps prepare and equip the other adults in their lives to help them cope with the situation and also to expect that they might notice a change in your children’s behavior or personality in conjunction with the life changes they are experiencing.
- One of the best ways you can help your kids cope with your divorce is to tell them and remind them, as necessary, that they are not to blame. Many children internalize their parents’ marital problems and think they did or said something to cause their parents’ divorce.
- Having a basic plan in mind to share with your children regarding some of the changes that will occur following your divorce can help alleviate their fears.
- Be prepared to witness a variety of reactions among your children. One might get angry while another shuts himself or herself off from the family for a time; there is no right or wrong way to react.
It’s only natural that you’d worry about how your kids will take the news that their parents are no longer going to live under the same roof and will no longer be a married couple. There are a myriad of local resources available, however, to provide support for you and your kids as you address logistical, emotional, economic and legal issues associated with your divorce.