Of course, all children will react differently depending on the circumstances of the divorce as well as their age and how well they deal with change. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to take, but these tips from expert Wirral divorce solicitor should help the whole family to prepare for separation.
Seek out help, resources and information
You aren’t the first family to go through divorce. There’s a huge amount of support and information out there, from organisations such as Resolution and Gingerbread through to your divorce lawyer. You can find help for answering difficult questions your children may ask, through to practical tips for restructuring your new life as a separated couple.
Don’t forget about your friends and family either. It’s important to have a healthy support network you can rely on.
Take care of yourself
Your children are going to need your love and support now more than ever, so you need to make sure you’re in a fit condition to be there for them. Get enough sleep, look after your physical health and seek out therapy or counselling if you feel it would help. The better and stronger you are, the more you can be there for your children.
Telling the children – take ownership
How you choose to tell the kids that you’re splitting up will need to be tailored to their age and emotional maturity. However, you should aim to keep it clear and simple. They don’t need all the complicated, grown-up details, but you should both take ownership of the marriage ending so that the children don’t feel like it’s their fault. Don’t just say this once, as many children continue to blame themselves even after this has been said. Netdoctor has a good starting point if you’re struggling for what to say:
"We have decided that we can't live together anymore and do not want to stay married. This has been a difficult decision, but it was an adult decision. It has absolutely nothing to do with you, we both love you."
You could even practice ‘the talk’ together to iron out any anger, hurt and upset in advance, so you can go to the children calmly and as a team.
Answer questions and encourage them to talk about their feelings
A dialogue about what is happening and how they feel about it is much healthier than bottling things up. Reassure your children that it’s ok to feel upset and that you’re there if they want to talk. Get ready for a lot of questions, from ‘who will I live with?’ to ‘will I have to move school?’. Be as honest as you can without going into too much grown-up detail, or making the situation seem stressful.
Try to keep their routine the same
Lastly but very importantly, you should prepare to minimise disruption in their daily routine. You will of course need a new one, factoring in time to see the other parent or whatever the new living arrangements will be. When this happens, try to make the new routine consistent and dependable.
For help with any aspect of divorce or family law, contact Wirral family lawyer Tracey Miller Family Law on 0151 515 3036.