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Thursday, May 28, 2020

How to break the news of divorce to kids

When you break the news to your children that you are planning to go your separate ways, handle these conversations with maturity. Take care to find the right choice of words and expressions.

Published: December 13, 2018 1:24:49 pm
divorce and kids As a parent, it is your responsibility to handle a divorce with care. (Source: Getty Images)

By Vaibhav Datar

Things don’t always go as planned. When you take wedding vows, nobody imagines that you and your partner could part ways some day. There are several factors that contribute to a divorce and each side is justified enough. Things are in doldrums, nothing’s going right for each. There are sleepless nights and “never want to see you again” vibes.

Things are already difficult and with kids in the equation, it becomes worse. First of all, the child finds himself in the cross-fire of arguments, counter-arguments and anger exchanges. While today’s kids are mature, they are bound to go through huge turmoil and anguish as they have no control over what’s happening out there.

Let’s face it. It can happen to anyone. You have changed. So has your partner. You are a continuously evolving individual. So it’s absolutely okay to have a divorce. But the difficult part comes now. How are you going to break the news to your kids? Who is going to bell the cat?

I distinctly remember a client of mine, who was going through this difficult phase, and he and his partner decided to make it less painful for their children. And I’m going to share the same strategies with you. Let’s assume that your child is at least eight years or above, where he or she understands the importance of love and relationships.

Handle with care

This conversation is going to be among the most difficult in your life. Emotions will fly high. There are going to be sparks everywhere. You don’t even know how your kid is going to react. Whether he takes it up in anger or goes into a sudden silence, you really can’t tell. As a parent, it is your absolute responsibility to make sure that you handle this entire situation with care. Remember the child will follow your cue when it comes to handling their emotions in future.

Treat your child as an adult

Make sure when you have this conversation with your child, you treat him as an adult and not like a child. Your thoughts and actions make your child believe that he is mature enough to understand the differences in opinions between your partner and you. And believe me, they really do understand that you two are not able to get together. Even before you have say it clearly, they can tell intuitively that things are not right. They may fear a loss of family bonding and spending time together, so treat your child as a responsible being.

Be mature in conversations

When you break the news to your children that you are planning to go your separate ways, handle these conversations with maturity. Take care to find the right choice of words and expressions. If required, make sure that you practice your lines and your body language before you share this news.

Be expressive, share a hug

Make sure that during this entire conversation the child is not left alone. The child is continuously cared for. Ensure that you are in touch with his emotions. Have a glass of water ready and allow him to sip water as you tell him. If the child decides to cry, which most likely he will, then let him freely express himself. People cry when they’re not able to handle emotions within themselves. It is best for a child to cry right now and not keep these feelings of remorse or negativity within themselves. In the longer run, these feelings of negativity can hamper a child’s growth, if they don’t get an outlet.

Divorce is a difficult thing to undergo. Getting divorced from a person whom you loved is a painful experience. However, at times, you have to take such steps in life. With kids, it really needs to be handled with care.

(The writer is a mid-life coach and author of Simplify Your Life.)

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