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The last thing you want to do is discuss divorce with your children — and the feeling may be mutual. But it’s something you need to do if counseling isn’t effective and you are going ahead with the divorce. (Avoid discussing divorce with your children unless you’re positive it’s going to happen). Here are some guidelines on how you can have this very tough, but very crucial, conversation with your kids.

Prepare Your Kids’ Teachers or Caretakers

If your children are in daycare or school, talk to their teachers or caretakers before you talk to your kids. Teachers and caretakers need to be prepared for some emotional upsets, cries for attention, disruption, or acting out of character. Work with the teachers to have a plan on how that should be handled.

Discuss Divorce as a Team With Your Ex

If you and your ex are on somewhat agreeable terms with each other, it is best for the children to discuss the divorce with both of their parents. The most important message to send to your kids during a tumultuous time is that they’re loved and wanted by both parents. Assure them that they’ll continue to have a relationship with both of their parents even if their parents no longer have a relationship with each other. Tackling talking to your kids together can help send this message.

Let Your Kids Know in Advance

If possible, talk to your children a few weeks before the actual separation takes place. This gives them time to adjust to the idea and ask questions. Surprising them with a divorce talk and then one parent moving out right away can be overwhelming for small hearts and minds. Giving them some time to come to terms with what is happening in their lives is a healthy and positive way to handle the situation.

Let Them Know It’s Okay to Be Upset

Your child will look to you for how they should be dealing with the split emotionally. Let your children know that it’s perfectly normal to be upset, sad, and even angry that you’re divorcing. Tell them it’s likely that their life will change in some ways. Support them and get them age appropriate counseling if needed.

When to Contact an Attorney

One of the most challenging issues of a divorce is not only talking to your kids about it, but also determining issues like child custody. For that, you’ll need an experienced attorney on your side. Contact Hackensack divorce lawyer Rita T. Jerejian today for a consultation at 201.489.7714.