It’s not easy to make the decision to move forward with a divorce in Texas, but it can be even harder to figure out how to tell your children about the decision that you have made. Of course, this is going to be a difficult conversation, but you can also take several steps to reinforce the fact that you love them and that you are going to be available to both meet their needs and answer questions that they might have.
Where possible, try to work with your former spouse to develop a strategy for informing the children. It’s best to put aside your personal differences and work together to develop a strategy that benefits the children. You can cooperatively come up with your approach towards talking about the changes that are coming and any relevant details. If you don’t have this conversation in advance, you might end up arguing with former spouse in front of the children, and this only tends to make things worse.
To highlight the importance of cooperation, it’s also a good idea to have the other spouse present when you inform the children, if at all possible. This transmits the message that you are willing and able to work together when it’s in the best interest of the children. It’s also better for the children to hear it from their parents themselves, rather than siblings or other family members who may be clued in about the upcoming marriage dissolution.
During the conversation, try to avoid making any statements regarding blame. Children have a tendency to blame themselves for a parent’s divorce to begin with, so you don’t need to increase the chances of conflict by letting your emotions take over. Your children’s ability to adapt during the course of the divorce will depend in part on how comfortable they feel with you and their other parent. If you initiate this major change in their life by placing blame or starting conflict, this could set the tone for their anxiety and stress levels for months to come.
Children are prone to asking questions, so you need to have a general reason about why the marriage is ending. The more that you try to avoid this kind of question and answer in vague terms, the more the children begin to worry and start creating their own reasons for why the divorce is happening. Older children, especially, will understand that this is going to have a significant impact on their life, and they will be thinking through the implications of this change by considering the reason you have provided. You don’t need to get into the details of personal conflicts between you and your spouse, but you do need to explain the end of the marriage in terms that children can understand.
Finally, after you have given a general reason for why the divorce is happening, lay out the specific details related to the changes in their own lives. The more that you can highlight what will be staying the same, such as your love and commitment to them, the easier it will be for them to adapt to the changes that are coming.