As parents, going through a divorce affects more than just you and your spouse. You must take your child into consideration as well. Though they are not directly involved, the outcome will have a huge impact on their life moving forward.
As such, it is common for divorcing couples to have plenty of questions about how to tell their child of the upcoming split. Is there a right way to do it? Is there a trick to perfect timing? Unfortunately, things are not so clear-cut.
Aim for sooner rather than later
Psychology Today offers advice on the timing of your conversation about divorce. The general consensus is: you do not want to wait too long. Telling them sooner rather than later gives them the chance to properly sort through their emotions. Needless to say, news like this will create a lot of conflicting feelings and it may take months or even years to sort through them all. But if you wait until the last second to alert your child, they are more likely to panic and feel overwhelmed.
Early discussion can alleviate some fear of the unknown, too. It gives them time to ask questions and discuss the situation with you and your co-parent. This gives them some amount of control, which helps ease some concerns they may have.
Plan out your talk in advance
However, you should discuss the matter with your co-parent before holding this discussion. It is important to get on the same page. Decide what information to share and what to keep to yourselves. Make a guess at what questions your child will ask and prepare answers in advance. Finally, expect the unexpected. No one knows how their child will react until the moment comes, after all.