Five tips for talking to Pennsylvania kids about divorce

Talking to their kids about a pending divorce may be difficult for parents, but the way they handle these conversations may affect how they cope and adjust.

Each year, according to a 2013 Scientific American report, the parents of 1.5 million children throughout the country get divorced. Upon making the difficult decision to split up, the next challenge for many is to discuss their intentions with their children. There is no guaranteed way to stop their kids from experiencing any short-term negative effects from their divorce. However, there are things parents can do when talking to their children about their split that may aid in their adjustment and rebound.

Break the news together

At the end of a marriage, people may not want to see or interact with their soon-to-be former spouses. When it comes to breaking the news of their split to their kids, however, it may be essential for parents to sit down with them together. Showing a united front as they tell them about their plans may help people reassure their children that they will continue to work together when it comes to guiding and raising them.

Give thought to the timing

The initial conversation parents have with their kids about their plans to divorce should not be rushed. Therefore, it is suggested that they schedule a time to sit down with their children when they do not have to do anything afterwards. Kids often need time to process such news, which is why people may find it helpful to have this difficult talk at the start of a weekend. This may ensure they are close to their children and available to talk to them in the immediate days after their first discussion.

Offer reassurances

When their parents decide to get divorced, it is common for children to think they have done something to cause it. People should keep this in mind as they plan what they will say to their kids when breaking the news to them. It is advisable for parents to reassure their children that their decision was an adult one and there is nothing they can do or could have done to change it. Helping them understand they are not to blame may help prevent kids from assuming responsibility for the split or for getting their parents back together.

Explain the plan

The threat divorces pose to their security may leave children feeling confused and frightened. However, parents may help ease their anxieties by explaining to them as much as they are able what is going to happen and how things will work in the future. For example, knowing which parent they will live with, whether they will have to move and what the visitation schedule will be may help set kids' minds at ease.

Be ready for a range of reactions

Depending on their ages and other factors, children may experience a mix of reactions when they're told their parents intend to divorce. Some may feel sad, angry or scared, while others may feel confused or even a sense of relief. Although it may be difficult for them, people are advised to allow their kids to have their reactions. Allowing them to go through their emotions may help them to process and cope with the news and changes.

Working with an attorney

The end of a marriage may be challenging enough for families in Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S. However, this type of life-changing experience may be made more difficult when the matter is drawn out. Thus, it may be helpful for divorcing parents to obtain legal representation. A lawyer may look out for their interests and help to negotiate a settlement on their behalf.