Divorce is both emotionally and physically draining for everyone who is affected by this process. If you and your spouse have a child together, it goes without saying that they will learn about your divorce at some point. When you tell your children that you are getting divorced, it is important to approach the subject matter in some specific ways.
Not many conversations are as difficult as announcing your divorce so that your child can understand what is going on. Knowing how to steer the conversation can help them cope with this new reality. It can also help you avoid pitfalls that might hurt your custody case down the road. Here are three mistakes you’ll want to avoid when talking to your child about your decision to divorce.
Blaming the other parent
Your soon-to-be ex might have set the ball rolling thanks to their actions. Perhaps they had an affair. Or, they were violent. However, blaming the other parent for the divorce will only inspire negative feelings of anger, resentment and bitterness (and even fear) toward your spouse on the part of your child during a time wherein they will already be dealing with a lot of tough emotions. In hurting their relationship with the parent in question, you could also hurt your custody case, should it come to the attention of the court.
Asking the children to take sides
Divorce is a decision that is made by two adults whose marriage is no longer viable. Your child has nothing to do with it. Your soon-to-be ex might no longer be your favorite human being, but they still have a right to a healthy relationship with their child. And, more importantly, your child has a right to a healthy relationship with their other parent. Don’t ask them to take sides – explicitly or implicitly.
Asking them to spy on your spouse
Using a child to spy on your spouse is breaking one of the most important co-parenting rules: never rope the child into adult concerns and responsibilities. Unfortunately, this behavior is quite common. Asking a child to spy on the other parent or pass messages to them can hurt the relationship between the child and both of their parents in different ways.
Divorce, especially when children are involved, can be challenging in a variety of ways. Find out how you can protect your child’s best interests during and after your divorce so that you can make more informed decisions about a host of pressing issues.