Parents often think long and hard about when to discuss their decision to divorce with their children. They want to choose the right time, for instance, so that it’s not an unnecessarily stressful conversation. They also may wonder about how many details the children need to hear.
It’s also important to let the children ask questions. Many parents find out that the children have questions they never would have thought of. But, by preparing for common concerns, parents can more effectively reassure their kids that things will eventually be okay. Below are a few examples of common questions kids ask that parents may want to be prepared to answer before sitting down with their children to discuss a decision to divorce.
Where will everyone live?
First and foremost, children will likely be concerned about where they will live and which parent they will be with. They instinctively want stability and they want to know who will care for them. Discussing a potential parenting plan can be very helpful to show them that they will still see both of their parents and live in a home where they can feel safe and happy.
Is it temporary?
Some children struggle with wondering if their parents will get back together. This is why you don’t want to bring up a divorce until you’re 100% sure that it’s going to happen. You also don’t want to give the children false hope if you know that the romantic relationship really is over.
What will the schedule be like?
Older children will understandably have questions about their daily life and their schedule. Will they be able to go to the same school? Will they have the same group of friends? Will they play on the same sports teams? Children want to know that life isn’t going to change too dramatically for them just because of their parents’ divorce.
Why is this happening?
Finally, perhaps the most difficult question to answer is why the divorce is occurring. Parents need to consider exactly how many details children need, and this often depends on their age. Younger children may simply need to be reassured that their parents love them and believe this is the best for all involved. Older children may have more direct questions about the specific events that took place that caused the divorce. Every parent has to use their discretion to determine how much their children need to know.
By preparing to answer these questions, parents can craft the foundation of their approach to this tough discussion. If meeting with an attorney and working out parenting plan details before having this discussion is an option, it could help to provide children with more concrete details about what is coming next.