Like most Tennessee parents, you obviously want what's best for your children. It's quite the challenge to parent in the modern world at times. Kids face all sorts of problems as they grow and mature, from peer-related issues at school to temptations to try drugs, alcohol and/or sexual-related activities at shockingly young ages. The last thing you want to be to your children is a source of turmoil. Perhaps that's why you're having a difficult time figuring out how to tell them you've decided to divorce.
Many children come from single-parent households. In fact, tremendous resources exist nowadays to help parents and children navigate the process of divorce in order to keep stress levels to a minimum and adapt to their new lifestyles in as positive a manner as possible.
Broaching the topic
What works for one family may not be the best option for yours as far as discussing impending divorce with your children. No two families work the same way. You know your children better than anyone else does. Therefore, you determine how to break the news of your upcoming divorce to them in a way that helps prepare them for the many changes that lie ahead. Even so, the following tips might prove quite useful in such situations:
- Age makes a difference: If you have children of varying ages, discuss the topic of your divorce privately with each one so that you can choose words and a style of conversation that suits each child's level of maturity.
- Limited information is probably best: While your children obviously need to know some things about the life changes that will occur, they do not need to know every detail of your marital situation. Offering succinct answers to their questions and providing only necessary information typically provides the best way to avoid placing any undue burden upon them.
- Keep it positive: Most children love both their parents. Therefore, it's likely not in their best interests to listen to you bad-mouth your soon-to-be former spouse, especially as you strive to help them transition to a new lifestyle in as healthy and productive a manner as possible.
- Seek appropriate support when needed: Even if your relationship with your children is close, they might need to speak to another adult about their feelings as the divorce progresses.
Some parents make the mistake of leaning on their children for their own emotional support when going through divorce. In general, parents should remember their own roles as adults and offer support to their children, rather than seeking support from them. Although divorce may not have been part of your original family plan, it doesn't have to mean the end of your happiness. Children fare best when you remind them that both their parents love them and they carry no blame for your divorce.
This doesn't mean, however, that your situation will not present you with challenges, especially if you and your spouse disagree regarding child custody plans or other family-related matters. If you need help negotiating a fair and agreeable resolution, you can turn to an experienced Tennessee family law attorney for assistance.