When you married your spouse, you likely did not intend to eventually end your marriage, but divorce is a common experience for many couples. According to Time, after marriage, couples in the U.S. are 39% likely to eventually get divorced.
No matter the situation, divorce is difficult mentally and emotionally, especially if you have children. If you have concerns about telling your children about your plans to divorce, there are several steps you should take to prepare for before, during and after this important conversation.
Before the conversation
Make sure you and your spouse are certain about your intention to divorce. Once you feel confident in this decision, prepare a general plan for telling your children. Refrain from telling your children before a big event, like a birthday. You should also put together a basic outline for what you will say and how you will say it during the discussion.
During the conversation
When you sit down with your children to tell them about ending your marriage, they will likely have questions about who will have primary custody, where they will live and what comes next. Answer these questions as honestly as you can with what you know right then. Additionally, try to remain calm and refrain from blaming your spouse in front of your children for the end of your marriage.
After the conversation
Each one of your children will react differently to the news of your divorce. Expect a range of emotions, from sadness to anger and plan for these emotions to develop over time. Even if one of your children does not appear upset during the initial conversation, he or she may experience other emotions as time goes on.
Before, during and after you tell your children about your divorce, the most important thing to do is to be there for them. Divorce presents a major change in your life and theirs and dealing with the uncertainty of what is to come can be hard on your children.