If you’re getting divorced, you have probably heard that you need to tell your children that the divorce is not their fault. To you, this may seem pointless. It’s clearly not their fault and you clearly still love them. They would never think they caused your marital troubles, right?
The truth, though, is that they often do. Kids may misinterpret events. They may draw their own conclusions. They may just feel emotional about the whole event and not know how to deal with those feelings. That can lead them to assume that they made some sort of mistake.
Kids can also take things out of context. Perhaps you and your spouse got into an argument about when the kids should do their homework and your child felt responsible for the dispute.
A week later, you announced to the children that you and your spouse were getting a divorce. It obviously has nothing to do with that old argument — which you probably forgot all about. To your child, however, that was one of the biggest events of the last week. They saw how it made you and your spouse argue, and now the marriage is over. They may connect the dots and decide that their poor performance in school is the reason for the divorce.
Is it logical? Of course not. But this is why you need to stress to children that the divorce was not something they caused, even when you think they should already know better.
Once you do break the divorce news, be sure you understand your legal rights. An experienced advocate can help you work through your options regarding child custody, parenting plans, support and other important concerns.