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Talking to Your Children about Divorce
19 Sep, 2021
Divorce

Talking to Your Children about Divorce

It can be said with all honesty that divorce hurts everyone, but it might hurt the children involved most of all. No parent wants the divorce process to harm their children emotionally or psychologically, but knowing how to talk to your children about divorce can feel as if it is outside the realm of your capabilities. Better understanding the basics about talking to your children about divorce can help you move forward with less trepidation while keeping your children’s happiness and well-being at the forefront. Most counties in Illinois have designated parenting classes that can be taken in-person or online to give divorcing parents tools and pointers for communicating with their children and making the divorce process as low-stress on them as possible. If you are facing a divorce, have children, and are concerned about the negative effects the divorce will have on them, an experienced Chicagoland family lawyer can help guide you smoothly through the process. 

Don’t Send Mixed Messages

Every family and every marriage goes through ups and downs, and there is no way to shield your children from this fact. If you and your spouse are considering divorce, you are facing a difficult decision, but it is important to be careful with what information you share with your children. While your children will likely sense the tension, there is no shame in keeping private adult matters private adult matters – and it is very likely to cause your children less emotional trauma. It is important, whenever possible for both parents to be on the same page with what information will be relayed to the children and in what manner, and not to send mixed messages that will cause them confusion and emotional harm.

Be Age Specific

When it comes time to talk to your children about divorce, you need to carefully consider their ages. Babies and toddlers have absolutely no way of understanding the issue at hand, and you’ll need to find a way to provide them with the constancy, love, and ongoing care they need while simultaneously coping with divorce matters. Children who are a bit older will need to know that change is coming, but the tone and content of your message should be that you and their other parent are doing everything within your power to help ensure their ongoing health, happiness, and well-being. 

Once a child matures and begins to better understand life in relationship to others (instead of solely in relation to himself or herself), you can share more about the logistics of your post-divorce future – with an emphasis on your focus on him or her. Teenagers are often capable of understanding a good deal more, but this doesn’t mean that they are able to process the information in a healthy way – and they may be more likely to internalize the news in negative ways. All told, your message to your children should include all of the following:

  • That they remain the focus of both you and their other parent’s lives
  • That they will continue to see and spend family time with both of you
  • That you recognize and regret the pain the divorce is causing and that you are always available to listen and to help in any way that you can
  • That your divorce is in no way their fault

Oftentimes, judges will enter court orders that dictate what you can or cannot say to your children about the divorce process. Be sure to discuss the ramifications of these and any other court orders with an attorney experienced in handling custody and divorce cases.

An Experienced Chicago-Area Family Lawyer Can Help

If you’re facing a divorce, the trusted family lawyers at SLG Family Law, in the Chicago area have the compassion, legal insight, and commitment to help. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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