Your kids finally started asking why mom and dad are getting divorced. This is probably one of the toughest and most challenging conversations you’ll ever have with your kids. After all, if you tell them in an incorrect manner or say too much, it could complicate things between you and your kids or your kids and your spouse. If you don’t answer your kids, on the other hand, you might run the risk of your spouse telling them something that would make your kids see you in a bad light.
What Should You Tell Your Kids?
Parenting experts recommend that what you disclose to your kids about your reasons for divorcing should ideally be based on your kids’ maturity and age, and whether your reasons are obvious or not.
In general, the following are the most common reasons couples divorce. When, what, and how you tell your kids about your reasons would depend significantly on your unique reasons:
- Marital Discontent – These are cases wherein the spouse simply fell out of love, grew apart, got lazy working on their relationship, or took similar actions that led to the spouses filing for divorce.
- Betrayal – If you or your spouse cheated, admitted you were gay, is mentally ill but don’t want treatment, or spent all your money (due to addiction or something else), your reason for divorcing came about because of trust issues and misbehavior.
- Moral Demand – If you or your spouse was a criminal, degrading, or abusive, your reason for divorcing is glaringly obvious, to you and your spouse anyway.
If you’re divorcing due to a moral demand, you should tell your kids so they won’t tolerate the same behavior when they get married someday. If your reason is due to betrayal or marital discontent, it depends on your kids’ ages, maturity, and awareness. You should speak in general terms if your kids are younger, and perhaps disclose some key details if your kids are older and more mature.
The Bottom Line
Telling your kids why you’re divorcing their mom or dad could be heartbreaking, but being as straightforward and honest as you possibly can, while taking into consideration their emotional maturity and ages, would help guide you through this task.
If at all possible, family and divorce lawyers in Albuquerque suggest that you and your spouse should agree on what you’re going to tell your kids when they ask about the divorce. This especially true for younger kids who could easily get confused with elaborate details, and get even more puzzled when you and your spouse tell them different stories, she adds.
If you and your spouse could agree on specific details that you could share and discuss with your kids, this will better help your kids process and cope with your impending divorce.