Hi, I'm Nicole Myers, Licensed Professional Counselor. If you would like to know more about me or my colleagues, please check out our introductions available in video, audio or text.
Today's question is: How do I tell my children that their parents have decided to get a divorce and what do I tell them?
First of all, let's address how to talk to our children about divorce. As we talk our children will need to know the when of the divorce, how it will affect them and how they are going to proceed going forward. So, when we talk to them about this, we want to present it in a calm setting, preferably with our soon-to-be ex-partner, such as around the dinner table or some other private setting where we can all sit together. If you accomplish this, your children will get to hear just one version of things and you should also be prepared to answer any questions they may have. If you don't know answers to their questions tell them that you'll find out and get back to them.
So, what do your children need to know? They need to know things such as how this affects them, when it will affect them and what should they expect coming up. Some of these things may not have much meaning for you but, for example, what if your children have a pet? Say your family has a dog, who gets the dog and when? When do I get to spend time with my dog? How will I take care of my dog? These are going to important questions to your children that may not have come up to your mind at all but if you answer these questions for your children, they are going to be more able to handle the process and struggles of divorce along the way with you.
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