You know that any disruption in your child’s routine can cause major issues. Because he or she is young, a missed nap, delayed dinner, changes in environment and many other details could cause your child to feel upset and out of sorts. As a result, you may have major concerns about telling your child that you and your spouse are getting a divorce.
The way in which you approach the discussion will depend on the age of your child. For instance, if he or she is under the age of five, it is likely that a full understanding of the situation will not immediately take place. However, if your child is a little older, he or she may know enough to ask questions and know that you and the other parent will no longer live together.
What can you do?
As a parent, you know your child best. Therefore, only you and the other parent will truly know the best way to tell your child about the divorce. However, the following tips may help:
- Keep it age-appropriate: As mentioned, your child may not fully understand what is happening but may be old enough to ask questions. Try to answer those questions as best as possible without being too complicated or providing too much information.
- Work together: Often, it’s better to have serious discussions with both parents present, even when telling a child that the parents will no longer be married. If you and the other parent can tell your child together, it may set up a foundation for continuing to work together as parents in the future.
- Avoid blame: You likely do not want to make your child feel uncomfortable about the divorce in any way, and avoiding placing blame on the other parent, or even yourself, could prevent your child from thinking he or she should favor one parent over the other.
- Plan ahead: Because divorce can be emotional to talk about, you may want to plan out ahead of time what you are going to say. By being prepared, you may be able to stay more in control.
In addition to telling your child about the divorce, you may also want to start discussing child custody arrangements with the other parent. If you can come up with a rough plan from the start, coming to legal arrangements may not be as difficult. Of course, you want to ensure that you know your legal rights as a parent from the beginning. Discussing those rights and possible custody options with a Tennessee attorney may be wise.