Is there a right time to tell your child about divorce? A wrong time? How do you break the news as softly as possible, if there is a way to break such news softly in the first place?
As a divorcing parent, questions like this surely swirl in your head. While getting a straightforward answer would surely ease a burden for you, things are unfortunately not so straightforward.
Tailoring advice to fit your unique situation
Psychology Today looks into different ways of broaching the topic of divorce with your child. Because every child is a unique individual, no two ways of breaking the news will have the same results. In short, while you can use advice from friends and experts and loved ones as a guideline, you cannot perfectly predict how your child will react.
Likewise, it helps to tweak any advice you get to suit your unique situation and your child’s unique personality. Are they mature for their age? How well can they understand complex topics? How do they react to high-stress situations? As their parent, you know them better than anyone and can predict to a degree how they might react to any method you try.
Be prepared to work on the fly, too. Children are spontaneous and unpredictable even at the best of times. You want your conversation to have flexibility, along with any plans you implement in the future to help them cope with the upcoming split.
Finally, be honest, but not too honest. Tell them the facts of the divorce, but do not reveal all of the nitty-gritty details. They should understand what divorce entails and that they are not at fault for it. They do not need to know why you and your co-parent decided to make this choice.