there’s a divorce on the horizon. Remember throughout everything that you’re still the parent – and the same rules that apply to parents with young children also apply to you. Those rules include:
- Don’t blame your soon-to-be ex.
- Don’t bad-mouth your kids’ other parent.
- Don’t vent to your children or use them as counselors or therapists.
- Don’t ask your children to relay messages to their other parent.
- Don’t overshare – keep explanations to a minimum.
- Don’t say, “We stayed together for you,” even if it’s the truth, which can cause your kids unnecessary (and unfounded) guilt.
When you do tell your children, make sure you also deal with the ways in which your divorce will impact them. Talk about how things will change, like who’s paying college tuition or helping them get by, how you’ll both stay involved as grandparents, and how you’ll navigate old family traditions like holidays.
You should also expect them to become emotional. No matter how old your children are, they’re still your children – and they’ve only ever known you and your spouse to be together.
They’re probably not going to be happy with you, even if the divorce is a positive move for either or both of you. A lot of times, adult children will put their childhoods under a microscope, looking for signs that you two were struggling or trying to see things they could’ve done to prevent your divorce – they’re a lot like younger kids in this way.
Perhaps the most important thing to do is give them a positive takeaway and take responsibility for what’s happening. Acknowledge that your divorce is going to have a major impact on them, and let them know that you’re both there for them whenever they need you.
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