On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Friday, January 18, 2013.
Breaking the news to a child that mom and dad are going to get a divorce is never easy. But, it is something that needs to be done with both parents in an open and loving way. This will ensure the child is not harboring any feelings of blame and can rest assured knowing their parents still love them.
From the point of view of a child, especially a young child, it can be rather confusing as to why their parents are getting a divorce. For a child, he or she can quickly think it is somehow their fault and that everything their parents have said to them is a lie. Before anyone knows what is going on inside the child’s mind, he or she is thinking that their parents are not going to be there for them in the future and acting out.
To try and stop this spiraling, it is important for both parents to sit down with their child several days before one of the parents plan on moving out. This is the time for the parents to explain they are going to get a divorce. The reasons behind this decision, or feelings one parent might have for the other, are not to be shared with the child. Rather, this is just a time to explain what is going on and that both parents are still going to be there for the child.
After sharing the news of the divorce, both parents should not be physically together anymore. This means if sharing a home is still happening, parents need to sleep separately in different rooms. This will help with the transition to co-parenting and will help to not confuse the child.
Remember, in the end, the most important thing is to not try and have a child pick sides, but rather just understand that the divorce is not their fault and that both parents will still be a part of their life.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Telling Your Child About The Divorce,” Edward D. Farber, Jan. 18, 2013