In the short term, the divorce of their parents is usually hard on kids. However, prolonged conflict between you and your spouse can cause even greater and longer-lasting harm.
According to Psychology Today, there are things that you and your spouse can do to make the divorce easier for your children.
1. Anticipate questions
You should know what your children are likely to ask and have answers ready for them. Children’s questions about divorce typically center around how it affects them, so anticipate questions such as, “Am I going to have to change schools?” and have answers to these questions prepared.
However, children are not always comfortable asking questions or may have difficulty processing the information to formulate queries. Therefore, you should anticipate the most important unasked questions they may have and answer these proactively. For example, children should know that the divorce is not their fault, both parents still love them and they will still see you both.
2. Present a united front
Generally speaking, the children should all hear the news of your divorce at the same time, and you and your spouse should tell them together. You should explain that this is a decision that the two of you agreed to and avoid blaming one another.
3. Tell them what to expect
Kids know that their parents’ divorce means changes in their lives, even though they may be resistant to them. Be upfront and specific with them about what changes they can expect. Also, be explicit in explaining to them what will not change, e.g., “You will go to the same school.” This provides some reassurance that your divorce will not turn their lives completely upside down.
Kids take comfort from regular routines, so once the divorce process is underway, establish a new normal as soon as possible. Ask them frequent open-ended questions about how they are coping, and make it clear that you are always available to answer questions, and that you both love them no matter what.