When your marriage is ending, the number one thing you worry about is how your children will take the news. Chances are, your kids already feel the divorce coming before you say anything. Because kids are intuitive, they sense when your marriage is becoming more distant and tense. However, this doesn’t make this talk any easier.

Telling your children about your divorce is a big moment. It can be a challenge for your kids to accept your divorce, but with your support and love, your child can feel safe during uncertain times.

Manage your emotions

Your divorce can be an emotional time for you as it is, regardless of the conversation you must have with your children. Although your children may sense how you’re feeling, it will be better to continue the conversation after you’ve had time to process your emotions. Jumping into the conversation before processing your emotions may lead to an irrational reaction. By managing your emotions, you can allow your children to express theirs during this time.

Plan a meeting

Before you meet with your children, it may be beneficial to decide a plan with your partner. It’s important to be on the same page as your partner and decide how you want to explain your divorce to your children.

Explaining why you both need a divorce can be confusing to your children. They may not understand the meaning of a divorce or the changes that will occur. Sitting down with your partner to iron out the unknowns of the discussion can make the conversation easier on you both. If, for whatever reason, you and your partner can’t work productively to have a peaceful conversation, it may be better to have the conversation without your partner.

Be in tune with your children’s emotions

After you explain your divorce to your children, it’s important to give them the opportunity to speak their minds. It’s normal for your children to need a space to process their emotions. Let them know that you’re there to listen and help them process their emotions if they want.

They will most likely have a lot of questions. Most of those questions will center around why you’re getting divorced and what will happen next in your household. It may be helpful to have answers to these questions before you start this conversation.

Telling your kids about your divorce isn’t a walk in a park but being prepared will significantly help. If you go into the conversation with a plan, a calm demeanor and a willingness to listen, you will have more success. Your divorce may shock your kids, but it’s important to let them know that you and your partner will be there for them throughout this process.