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Tips on Explaining Divorce to Children

While your divorce is hard on you and your soon-to-be-ex, it is almost certain to be even more difficult for your children to process. While there is no magic way to erase the pain and confusion your children experience, there are several tips that can help you and your divorcing spouse make the transition less disruptive and help smooth the path forward. One of the most important steps you can take toward this end is reaching out for the skilled legal guidance of an experienced Chicago child custody attorney early in the process.  

Don’t Single Out Your Children to Tell Them Separately

Divorce affects your family as a whole, and you should tell your children about it all at the same time. Singling your children out and telling them separately can place undue stress on them and may make them feel as if they are somehow responsible. The best policy is banding together and speaking to your children with their other parent, but if this isn’t feasible, you’ll have to do it on your own – without adopting a tone that signals your ex’s fault in the matter. 

Know Your Audience

If your children are all teenagers, you can speak fairly frankly about all the following:

  • The fact of the divorce
  • The fact that your children are in no way to blame
  • The fact that you and their other parent both love them and will continue to play the same parental roles in their lives
  • The degree to which you will be maintaining the status quo to help ensure they will experience as little jarring change as possible

If your children are much younger, on the other hand, you’ll need to adopt much simpler language. Regardless of your children’s ages, you will need to take the time to get your message across clearly and lovingly. 

Expect the Unexpected

It is impossible to say how your children will react to the news of your divorce. For example, a placid child may become quite agitated, and a high-strung child may seem to take the matter in stride. Regardless of your children’s reactions, it’s important to know that they are experiencing internal turmoil and to be there for them in every way possible as you move forward in the process. 

Be Prepared to Field Questions

Your children may have questions for you – and they may seem to come out of left field. Be prepared to answer each question as honestly and lovingly as you can – being sure to adopt language that your children can understand and to avoid casting blame on their other parent in the process. While you likely have considerable differences with your soon-to-be ex, your children love them and should not be burdened with your anger. 

It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced Chicago Child Custody Attorney

The practiced Chicago child custody attorneys at Hammer Serna & Quinn, LLC, understand how difficult talking to your children about divorce can be and have the compassion and insight to help you gain the perspective you need to proceed with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re well prepared to tackle this primary task. Learn more by contacting us today. 

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