Divorce is both a specific process and an uncharted emotional journey. Outside of courtroom rules, you have to navigate a new path with your family – one that may not have the guidelines and structure you are used to. Once you decide to move forward with the dissolution of your marriage, you have to prepare how you will talk with your children about this change. You are not the first parents to divorce, and there are some strong suggestions you can follow in regard to answering your children’s questions. To learn more about obtaining a divorce and how you can handle the situation with your children, call Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. at 630-961-0060. We offer guidance on this process with skill and compassion.
Spare Your Children the Details
Your children do not need all of the nitty gritty details. However, they will need some information as to how the divorce came about. You and your spouse should decide how you will answer “why are you getting a divorce?” and other common questions. Make sure the answer is appropriate for the age of your children. Your 16 year old will understand more and may be ready to hear some specifics compared to your 5 year old.
Prepare for Common Questions
It will take time for your children to process what is happening. They may sneak a few questions at a time into your conversations instead of having a lot of questions all at once. You simply need to wait, prepare, and actively listen to your children during this time. Questions children routinely ask parents are:
- Why are you getting a divorce?
- Why can’t we all live together?
- Do you not love mom or dad anymore?
- Does mom or dad not love us anymore?
- Will we have to move?
- Will we have to go to a different school?
- What will happen to the family pet?
Never Bad Mouth the Other Parent
Divorces often come about because of difficult situations like infidelity or money issues. However, no matter how angry you are with your spouse, this should not transfer to how you speak about him or her to your children. Your children have a very different relationship with their parent than you do with your husband or wife. Speaking badly about a beloved parent can damage an important relationship in your children’s lives. It can also make the divorce more contentious if your spouse believes you are trying to alienate him or her from the kids.
Divorce is a stressful process, and you may get tired of questions from your children – particularly if you are not sure how to answer. But above all, remain patient with your children. Your children have to adjust from their home life with both parents to a new life with only one parent at a time. This can include new homes, new schools, and new adults in their lives.
If you are not up to answering a question, tell your children you can talk at another specific time, such as after dinner or that weekend. Do not simply say “we’ll talk about it later” because your children may feel dismissed and as if their questions do not matter.
Chicago Divorce Attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. can Help
There is rarely an easy way to get through a divorce when children are involved. There will be questions, tears, and possibly some bad behavior from your kids while they come to terms with this transition. However, many children get through the process just fine. To help your children adjust, be ready for their questions. The attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. can help you from the beginning of the divorce process through finalizing an agreement with your spouse. We have experience with all types of divorces, whether amicable or contentious, and can guide you through the difficulties you may experience at home.