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How to talk to your kids about divorce

Divorce is a painful subject for adults, but can be even more difficult for kids, especially if they are too young to understand why their parents are no longer going to be living together. While there is no way to completely eliminate the pain, there are couples who have made the change livable and allowed their children to have positive feelings about the topic. Here are some tips on how to keep your family united after your marriage dissolves.

1. Realize you are on the same side

One of the best ways to avoid conflict is to keep in mind that you and your ex are united in making the transition as smooth as possible. Put aside any feelings of anger and realize your kids' happiness is the most important thing. The best way to achieve that is for them to know they mean more to you than your arguments. Keep this in mind as you decide together how you will respond to questions so your children receive consistent answers.

2. Do not criticize

Maybe your spouse was lazy, unhelpful or just plain rude, but that does not mean you need to discuss that with your children. They will likely see it as they grow, even if they do not yet. The only exception to this is if there was legitimate abuse, in which case you do need to talk with them about wrong actions in a considerate way and factor this into the child custody equation.

3. Resist fighting if possible

In an already tense situation, it can be easy to become snappy or lose your temper when talking with your ex. If this happens, discuss sensitive topics behind closed doors and be civil in front of the kids. Your children will sense the anger and likely choose not to be around it as they grow older and reach adulthood.

4. Recognize that feelings can be confusing

Even a mature child will likely not understand all that went into your divorce. It may be wise to schedule counseling sessions for your kids to speak with a professional. When they come to you with concerns, take them seriously, no matter how trivial they seem. Psychology Today advises that some children will be grateful for a divorce if there has been a high level of hostility, but they will also likely feel sadness at the loss of the family life they have known.

Making sure your children realize you and your ex both love them and are united in your care for them may bring peace to your family in a difficult time. An experienced lawyer can help you get through this with as little stress as possible and preserve your bond as a family, even after you live apart.

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Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC
310 South St. Mary's Street Suite 2500
San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone: 210-764-3468
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