After you and your co-parent settle on the notion of divorce, what next? You will need to tell your child. This step may feel harder to some than deciding on the divorce itself. After all, no parent wants to hurt their child.
Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid hurting them in this scenario. But there are ways to mitigate the damage and make the transfer to life after divorce a smoother one.
Get an early start
Psychology Today discusses ways of breaking news of divorce to your child. First, they state the importance of letting them know what is happening sooner rather than later. The shock of divorce is likely unavoidable no matter how you tackle it. But if you give them more time, they have room to cope and process the information at a better pace. This allows them to face the matter with a clearer head and less fear.
A lot of a child’s fear of divorce stems from change and the unknown. You can give them time to ask questions during this period. This can help alleviate fear of the unknown. The thought of change gets less scary the longer you sit with it, too.
Discuss with your co-parent
When it comes to questions, give them room to ask what they want. But draw lines for yourself, too. This is why it is important to communicate with your co-parent before having this discussion with your child. Together, you can decide what you want to answer and what you will keep as private information.
Children react differently to news of divorce. It is hard to predict exactly how yours will take it. Just prepare yourself to deal with the unexpected and be sure to offer plenty of reassurance and love.