Guiding your children through a divorce

Divorcing can be highly emotionally draining. You could feel hurt, angry, and bewildered; however, you still need to heed the requirements of your children. Telling them that you and your partner are divorcing needs to be done carefully, as does transitioning to new routines post-separation; otherwise, your kids could feel like their world is about to fall apart. Here are some vital pointers.

How to break the news

While, naturally, you aren’t going to relish telling your children about the separation, it remains crucial if they are sufficiently old to understand the situation. If possible, tell them with your ex-partner at your side; for this, a brief truce might be necessary. It is also with them that, beforehand, you should decide what precisely you will utter as news of the separation breaks cover.

Avoid contradicting or blaming each other; this can help garner the impression to your offspring that, despite the marriage coming to an end, the two of you will stay cooperative. Even if your ex-partner isn’t actually cooperative, you should still try to agree on what will be openly said to the kids.

Keep any disruption to a minimum

While the breakup will have inevitable implications for your kids’ lives, you should still do your best to keep routines familiar even with your former lover now out of the picture. Netmums advises that you “try to carry on with the usual activities and daily routines, like going to school and clubs and seeing friends and family on both sides”.

The more typical and stable your routine stays, the more your children could feel reassured that there won’t be a significant, uncomfortable upheaval in their lives – and that they remain very much loved. Obvious though the following may seem, making it clear to your kids that you still love them is vital. Many children could too readily blame themselves for their parents splitting up; thus, reassure them that, in the case of your own separation, they really shouldn’t.

Give your kids one of these leaflets

Cafcass – the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service – have made two ‘My Family’s Changing’ leaflets intended to assist children whose parents are separating/divorcing. While these two leaflets have long been out of print due to government cutbacks, you can still download either of them from the Divorce Aid website.

One of the leaflets is aimed at children aged under 12; the other is intended for kids over 12. However, both leaflets provide, in a friendly way, information that can put children at ease. This information includes examples of thoughts that have gone through the minds of other children in the same situation and spaces where kids can write down their feelings.

Downloading and printing off whichever of these leaflets are suitable for your particular children is a good idea. As they read and use them, we can assist you in handling the legal side of managing the divorce. At Pinder Reaux, we can help you strategically plan for a successful divorce.

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