There are few harder moments in parenthood than telling your kids that it’s over between mommy and daddy. Don’t try to sugarcoat the issue: just understand this part of the process may be far worse than when you told your spouse you wanted to split. It’s important to note that communicating this information ineffectively could do irreparable damage to your children. If you break the news to them without your spouse by your side, for instance, that could send the wrong signal.
As adults, we understand the way a message is packaged sets the trajectory for how that message is received. Think before you speak, remember your audience, and don’t use adult words or a message of blame or abandonment.
The following items should aid in helping you communicate this difficult information to the little ones you love.
- Before you talk to your child(ren), consider consulting a child or family therapist together with your soon-to-be-ex.
- With your former spouse, work together to write a script for the conversation with your child(ren).
- Pick a time and place that is safe and that does not involve friends or relatives. Avoid conflict with important dates like birthdays.
- While talking, focus on the positives, like how the child has two people who love him or her so much that they both want special time together.
- Focus on how things at home are going to stay as similar as they can.
- Tell the child that it is not their fault.
- Do not blame the other parent. Make it appear as a joint decision.
- Expect tears. You are being honest — and honesty can hurt.
- Expect more questions after your initial announcement. Answer them honestly.
- Avoid creating a sense of abandonment. If at all possible, try staying in the same home as your spouse on the night or day that you tell your child.
Remember, above all, to put your child(ren) first. While you might be angry with your spouse, you are still a parent to your kid(s).
Contact a Family Law Attorney Today
Since 1993, the law office of Ronald L. Kossack have helped parents to reach important decisions regarding the upbringing of their children.
If you and your spouse are unable to agree on decision making authority (custody) or parenting time, the court will need to make a determination based on your child’s best interests. During contested hearings, we may hire mental health professionals and parenting coordinators, if necessary, to build and strengthen your case for child custody. We will do all we can to work toward a positive result for you. To speak with a Tempe child custody lawyer contact us online or by calling 480-345-2652.