Are you and your spouse going through the divorce process? Also, if you’re considering getting a divorce in Arizona, you should know a few things about how the process works if you have children. It can be a frustrating and painful time, especially if you have spent many years building a life together.
Getting a divorce is one of the most stressful life changes you can make. You fall in love, make a commitment to spend the rest of your life with your partner, and then for some reason, it all ends. Whether the divorce is your choice, the choice of your spouse, or a mutual one, going through the process can be emotionally traumatic.
While divorce is painful on its own, it can be even more complicated and stressful if you have children. As a parent, you don’t want to cause your children any pain, however, that’s exactly what happens during a divorce.
Fortunately, you can take measures to reduce the stress and pain your children will experience from the divorce. The first step starts with telling them about the process and using your conversation to set the foundation for how the rest of the divorce will go.
If you are getting a divorce and need to tell your family, here are several tips on the best way to do so.
1. Start With a Plan
The first step towards telling your family about the divorce process is to create a plan. Think of what you can say that will soften the blow and help them understand the divorce is not their fault. Plan to use supportive language and consider telling them over dinner or another family activity to reduce the stress of the conversation.
2. Break the News as a Family Unit
While sitting with your spouse may feel uncomfortable, you need to break the news as a family unit. You and your spouse need to present a united front, as this will help your children feel they don’t have to take sides. Be kind to each other to set an example for your children.
3. Avoid Placing Blame
One thing you want to avoid at all costs is assigning blame. Reframe from pointing fingers, both overtly and passively. Even if you feel strongly that your partner is to blame for the breakdown of your marriage, consider your children’s feelings and avoid placing blame in front of them.
4. Reassure Them You Love Them
Children tend to internalize everything. For this reason, your kids might think your divorce means you no longer love them.
Make sure to reassure them the divorce will not impact your love for them. You should also emphasize the divorce is not their fault in any way, shape, or form.
5. Be Honest
Children are smarter than you think and see, know, and understand more than you might realize. They also can tell when you are lying to them, something that makes them feel unsafe in the world. For these reasons, you should be honest with your children when telling them about your divorce.
6. Don’t Overshare
While being honest is essential, you want to avoid oversharing. Keep messy adult details from them as they should not have to deal with adult realities. Give them a general idea of what’s wrong without going into details.
7. Know the Details Before Breaking the News
One of the worst things you can do is tell your children you are getting a divorce without giving them an idea of what will happen next. For this reason, know the important details before you have your conversation. Know who will stay, where the children will live, and other essential information.
8. Set Realistic Expectations
Whether you are going through an uncontested divorce process or something a little more complicated, your children need to know what their life will look like during and after the divorce. Set realistic expectations so your children will know what to expect. Talk to them about custody, holidays, and other major changes to their routines.
9. Be Prepared to Answer Questions
Naturally, your children will have questions they want to ask. While answering their questions may feel uncomfortable, doing so will make the process much easier for them. Knowledge is power and having answers to their questions will help your children feel less hopeless and out of control.
10. Tend to Their Emotional Needs
Divorce is hard on children and can result in serious behavior problems and self-esteem issues. Make sure you are taking care of their emotional needs during the process. Consider family therapy as a unit to work through the divorce in a healthy and productive way.
11. Give Them Time to Adjust
Adjusting to divorce is difficult, for everyone involved. Expect your children to have on-going reactions to your news, such as asking more questions, wanting more sit-downs, or more. Expect to listen to them as much as they need, acknowledge their feelings, be patient, and let them know you are always there for them.
12. Don’t Let Guilt Take Over
Going through the divorce mediation process, the separating of assets, deciding custody, and more can make you feel an overwhelming sense of guilt. Seeing your children suffer can make you act in ways you might not otherwise act.
While it might seem like a good idea, try not to let guilt take over and affect how you parent your children. Don’t lavish them with gifts, make your home the “fun house,” or stop disciplining them. Doing so will only make the process harder on them and stall their healing process.
Use These Tips to Tell Your Family About the Divorce Process
By using these tips, you can tell your family about the divorce process in the best way possible.
Start by creating a plan and talking to your family together. Don’t blame or overshare, instead, be honest about the situation and what your new life will look like. It’s essential to tend to your children’s emotional needs, answer their questions, and reassure them you and your spouse love them.
Follow these tips and you can break the news of your divorce in a productive and loving way.
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