Divorce can be difficult for everyone involved. For minor children, who have no say and no control, it is a source of extreme upheaval and oftentimes anxiety or depression.
Because it can impact children deeply, it is important to handle informing them about the divorce carefully. Part of this is avoiding certain actions.
Trash-talking the other parent
Regardless of whose fault the divorce is, (and in many cases, there is no fault), do not drag the children into the middle of that conflict. They still need and love both parents and blaming one only immerses them in complex emotions like guilt and may make them feel obligated to pick a side. Saying nasty things about the other parent may have similar results. It is also parental alienation and can hurt the speaker’s chances of obtaining custody.
Blaming the children
Just as blaming the other parent only hurts the children, blaming the children themselves is even more unproductive and hurtful. Never even hint that the divorce may be because of anything the children do or say.
How much to tell the children varies based on their age and maturity. However, lying is not the right answer because they will eventually find out the truth. Keeping the details obscured from younger children who might not understand may be helpful, but straight out lying about them lays a foundation for future conflict and damages the relationship and trust between parent and child.
Telling children about a divorce can be a hard task fraught with emotional tension. By avoiding these actions, parents can help ease the process for themselves and their offspring.