Most importantly, you both should tell the children about the divorce together whenever possible. Present a united front. It is vital to let the children know that it is not their fault and that you love them very much.
Have a plan. They will have questions for you so ideally the best plan is to have a plan. They will want to know where they will be living, will they get to bring their stuff, and will they be going to the same school. Be prepared for these types of questions. If you do not know these answers yet, let them know that as soon as you know, they will know.
Please avoid blaming as this creates a loyalty bind for the children. Be respectful to each other.
Be patient, kind and understanding. Reassure your children that they are going to be okay. Be understanding that they will be experiencing a lot of emotions that they may not be able to express like anxiety, uncertainty, anger, frustration and sadness.
Provide as much stability as you possibly can.
What I need from my mom and dad: A child’s list of wants:
- I need both of you to stay involved in my life. Please write letters, make phone calls, and ask me lots of questions. When you don’t stay involved, I feel like I’m not important and that you don’t really love me.
- Please stop fighting and work hard to get along with each other. Try to agree on matters related to me. When you fight about me, I think that I did something wrong and I feel guilty.
- I want to love you both and enjoy the time that I spend with each of you. Please support me and the time that I spend with each of you. If you act jealous or upset, I feel like I need to take sides and love one parent more than the other.
- Please communicate directly with my other parent so that I don’t have to send messages back and forth.
- When talking about my other parent, please say only nice things, or don’t say anything at all. When you say mean, unkind things about my other parent, I feel like you are expecting me to take your side.
- Please remember that I want both of you to be a part of my life. I count on my mom and dad to raise me, to teach me what is important, and to help me when I have problems.
Source: University of Missouri