Telling the children about your upcoming divorce is a key step in the process for every parent. Ideally, it’s something that you and your spouse should do together. Plus, if you have multiple children, you want them all to be there at the same time. This way the entire family knows what is coming, all the children have a chance to ask questions, and there is no miscommunication.
Naturally, though, one of the biggest questions your kids are likely to ask is simple: “Why? Why are you splitting up?”
Do you need to tell them? While nobody can answer that question for you, here are the things to consider:
Age is an important factor
Every situation is different and you need to do what is best for your children. One of the key things to think about is their ages.
Very young children need basic, general explanations, like the fact that their parents aren’t getting along. Older children may want more details. You’ll need to decide how much to tell them so that it’s not overwhelming and confusing, but it still answers their questions.
Remember, kids may read into things inaccurately if they don’t get an explanation. For instance, one man deleted a file from his wife’s computer. She was angry and they argued about it. The daughter assumed that was the reason they were getting divorced. The parents realized they needed to give her a bit more information so she’d really understand what was happening.
You should not share too much
By the same token, you don’t want to tell the kids the intimate details of your divorce, no matter what their age. Your children don’t need to know about their father’s affair, for example. It’s enough to say things like, “Your father and I simply no longer want the same things in life.”
Moving forward with your divorce and custody issues
If you’re reading this, it’s already clear that you want to put your children first. That’s the perfect mindset to have. As you think about child custody and other important issues associated with divorce, it’s important to have some experienced guidance. A family law attorney here in Des Moines can help.