After deciding that a divorce is the right choice for you, what next? You will need to prepare yourself for the emotional and legal hurdles any divorcee would face. But as parents, you must also consider your child.
One of the first questions you must ask is: When should we break the news? Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to this question. However, some options are better than others.
Give your child time to process
As Psychology Today points out, it is more common for parents to tell their child about divorce too late. Parents often struggle with the notion that they will contribute to their child’s hardships and suffering. But pretending that a problem does not exist is no way to cope.
What your child needs is time to process and understand what will happen now and in the future, as well as space to go through the emotional process. Your child also needs time to sort through questions and ask them, and you need time to formulate your answers. The only way any of you get this time is if you tell your child about your plans for the future.
Plan your discussion in advance
At the same time, you should not necessarily rush into a discussion immediately. Get a little planning done first. Work with your co-parent to decide what you want to say. Try to predict what questions your child may have and formulate your responses to them.
This is also a great time to decide what information is “off limits” to your kid. Finally, take this conversation as a chance to reinforce your love for your child. Having that emotional support can make accepting the rest of the divorce much easier.