You and your spouse have contemplated separation and have now decided that the best thing to do is to get a divorce in Michigan. However, one enormous task remains. You still need to tell your kids, which will probably be the most challenging conversation of your life. How do you do it?
Talk to your kids together
Even if you and your spouse have been contentious with one another, it’s essential that you talk to your kids together and develop a narrative that does not place blame on either spouse for the divorce. Share the essential information with them together, even if they are of different ages, and then provide time for them to ask questions if they want to talk one-on-one. Don’t feel that you have to reveal the entire truth, either. Always try to use the word “we” when explaining the situation and make sure that the kids understand that the separation and divorce are not their fault.
Expect your kids to be scared and have a lot of questions. They’ll want to know what will change and what will stay the same. Older kids may even wonder if you won’t be able to afford activities with them the way you did in the past. Don’t make promises that you won’t be able to keep. Reassurance is the key. Stick with the things you know to be true, such as they will still go to the same school and be honest when you are unsure. Let them know that life may be difficult for all of you for a while but that you will eventually get through this.
Include your kids’ concerns in divorce negotiations
Listening to your kid’s concerns and wishes can make the divorce process easier. Some kids, especially older ones, may want a say in parenting time and other issues.
Divorcing couples need to remember that working toward parenting agreements can be easier if they put their kids’ needs first. Recognizing that basing parenting time on current situations and that those situations will change can help minimize conflict.