No married couple can say they haven’t ever encountered relationship challenges. Whether you’ve been with your spouse for less than five years or more than 20, you’ve likely had to work together to overcome differences of opinion, financial problems or other issues that caused a rift in your relationship. Some problems are definitely more serious than others are. If you’ve decided that it’s best to go your separate ways, your current highest priority might be how to tell your children.
Depending on their ages, you’ll likely witness various reactions to the news that you are getting divorced. Keeping several things in mind may help you and your kids navigate these circumstances with as little stress as possible. Divorce disrupts lives but it doesn’t necessarily have to ruin them.
Children internalize their parents’ problems
You’ll want to avoid assuming that your children understand that you and your spouse simply have problems you are unable to resolve. In fact, many children blame themselves for their parents’ divorce. It’s better if your kids hear you say it.
If they hear you and your spouse say that the situation is not their fault and you both love them and are going to be there to support them, chances are far greater that they will adapt to a new lifestyle in a healthy manner.
No need to place blame on each other either
You and your spouse know exactly what led to your decision to file for divorce in a Colorado court. It may well be that your spouse did something, such as cheating on you, that prompted your decision to sever your marital ties. Children typically don’t need to know such things about their parents.
If you and your spouse are willing to avoid speaking negatively about each other, it shows the kids you’re able to work as a team for their sake although you no longer wish to be a married couple. On the other hand, if one of you tries to paint the other as the bad guy in your children’s eyes, your kids might be confused as to where their loyalty should lie.
Children want a sense of a normalcy in life
Divorce is definitely a major lifestyle change. From a child’s perspective, however, your son or daughter might really just want to be reassured that his or her life can carry on as usual. For instance, your kids might ask if you’re still going on vacation, or whether they can still have sleepovers with their friends, among other things.
If you and your spouse are willing to cooperate to help your children maintain a sense of structure and daily routine in their lives, chances are they are they can cope with your divorce and adapt to a new family dynamic.
Who can help?
Before you even talk to your children, it helps to start building a strong support network. Your extended family members, friends who have gone through similar experiences, teachers, guidance counselors and others, such as community faith leaders or legal advocates, can provide encouragement and support as you and your children come to terms with divorce and move on in life together.