Tell the children together, with each spouse taking a turn discussing the situation. Be prepared to answer many questions about how the divorce will impact the children’s lives, including:
Children do not need specifics as to why you are getting a divorce. They need to know (1) they are not to blame and (2) they are loved by each parent. Some children harbor irrational thoughts that they are to blame for the parents’ divorce. Children need constant re-assurrance that they are not to blame and that they are loved by each parent. The details of why you are getting a divorce is not for your children’s ears, even teenage ears. Your children will want to know answers to the following questions:
- Which parent is moving out of the family home?
- Where am I going to stay?
- Will I be alone?
- How often will I see both parents?
- Where is the other parent going to live?
- When is the other parent leaving?
- How will this impact my school, my friends, my church, my sports, my activities, etc.?
- Create a short-term action plan for living situations, parenting time, and temporary finances before the “tell” so you can assure the children how the future will look.