The dos and don’ts of talking to kids about divorce in Texas

Telling their children that they are getting divorced is difficult for most parents, but there are things that they can do to help ease the blow.

As of 2013, the parents of 1.5 million children across the U.S. get divorced each year, according to a study by Scientific American magazine. After making the difficult decision to divorce, parents in Texas, and other localities, will inevitably have to break the news to their kids. For many, this is one of the most difficult conversations they will ever have with their children. However, there are some things that parents can do to help limit the surprise that may be caused when telling the kids that the parents are getting divorced.

Do have a plan

Thinking about it ahead of time may be difficult for some parents. However, it is advisable that parents do not try to improvise this conversation. Rather, they should consider what they will say ahead of time and decide on key messages that they want get across to their children. For example, people may want to make sure that their kids understand that the divorce is in no way their fault, and that both parents will still love them. This may help them ensure that they offer reassurances to their children, instead of causing them unnecessary anxiety.

Don't leave anyone out

Some divorces may not be mutual decisions, or they may be due to the acts or omissions of just one spouse or the other. When breaking the news to the children, it is important that parents put their differences aside and talk to their children together, if this can be amicably accomplished. This may help reaffirm assurances that they will still be part of both parents' lives.

Additionally, Psychology Today recommends that parents tell all of their children about their divorce together. This is the case even if they are different ages. Telling them separately may burden some children with having to keep secrets from their siblings.

Do prepare for questions

When their parents tell them that they are getting divorced, it is common for children to have a lot of questions. Some may wonder what happened or why their parents have to get divorced. Others may ask more practical questions. For example, they may want to know if they will have to move or what the visitation schedule will be?

In some cases, answering these questions may be upsetting or difficult for parents. However, it is suggested that people answer their children's questions about divorce honestly. Avoiding the questions or glossing over them and just telling them that everything will be okay may only add to their children's confusion. Additionally, it could affect their future communications with the children.

Don't assign blame

At the end of a marriage, spouses commonly do not to get along. While this is to be expected, Psychology Today points out that parents should be jointly responsible when they are breaking the news to their children. They should deliver a united message and avoid putting blame at one parent's feet. Doing so could affect their relationships with each child. In addition, it is recommended that people avoid badmouthing each other to or in front of their children at any time.

Do seek legal counsel

Making the decision to divorce and breaking the news to their children may be upsetting for people in Texas. The longer that the legal process is drawn out, the more difficult it may be for all who are involved. Those who are considering divorce may benefit from working with an experienced divorce and child custody attorney, who may help them settle issues that must be addressed so they can move forward with their lives in separate directions.