How do you tell your child about your divorce?
California parents like you want the perfect way to tell your child about your divorce. After all, your child’s well-being is your top priority. You want to avoid as much damage as you possibly can.
But is there any one way that minimizes damage more than the rest? Is there a “best” way to break the news?
What impacts a child’s reaction?
Psychology Today discusses how to break news of divorce to your child. According to them, there is no one true way to break news of a divorce. Why? Because each child is different. Age and maturity level will affect how your child takes news of the divorce. Also, each child has a different personality. A mellow child will not be as likely to have an explosive reaction. But it is hard to predict how anyone will react in the face of such life-changing news.
How to do damage control
Instead, focus on not making the situation worse than it already is. For example, children often pick up on subtle distress signals. If you just got into an argument, they may notice. They may internalize guilt, too. Make sure you put a repeated emphasis on the fact that the divorce is not because of them in any way. Do not imply that they were part of the decision at all, no matter if they were or not.
Stay on the same page with your co-parent, too. If you present a unified front, your child will feel more comforted because this is familiar to them. The feeling of stability, however small it may be, can help a lot.