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When, Where, and How to Deliver Your Divorce Script to Your Children

August 20th, 2019 by Marta J. Papa

In my article Scripting the News of Your Divorce for your Children, I provide an idea of how to prepare the news of divorce to your kids. Having a script that stays on-message and is well-practiced is important because this content matters. What’s also important is the context in which that content is delivered. When? Where? How?

Here are my suggestions for setting the scene to have this challenging talk:

When?

Schedule your talk with sensitivity to your children’s daily routines. Weekends during late morning or early afternoon are typically the best options. This is because it allows your children the necessary processing time they will require after receiving this disturbing news.

DO NOT:

  • Tell your children before an important event or occasion in their lives such as birthdays
  • Tell your children during holiday seasons
  • Tell your children before they go to school or before they go to bed
  • Tell your children before important school exams or special extracurricular events

Where?

The news is best delivered in familiar and comfortable surroundings. Usually, the family home is the preferable choice. However, it’s important to pick a location in the home that’s a neutral space, such as the family room or kitchen. These are communal rooms in the house, unlike the bedroom which is a more intimate room. Remember, context is important.

How?

This is news you can’t merely deliver, you have to deliver it well. Remember that your goal in co-parenting is to have and sustain a united front. So both parents need to share the responsibility in delivering the news. Decide in advance who will initiate the opening remarks and at what point the other parent will pick up the speaking role.

Mark on your script who will address each talking point. Think of yourself as actors performing your co-starring roles as parents: one parent is not more important than the other. So don’t step on each other’s lines! If your children witness both parents in control, they will be far more likely to receive and accept this news. Maintain a controlled tone of delivery throughout.

DO NOT:

  • Yell
  • Belittle
  • Patronize
  • Disrespect your spouse or your children

Remember that your children will forever have this day and this news etched in their memories. You cannot keep them from being saddened and hurt by this news, but you can minimize collateral damage. Your job is to set an example of maturity and command as long as you’re in front of your children.

Conclusion

By taking this advice, you will have demonstrated your willingness to cooperate with each other on behalf of your children’s well-being. However, children will be children. No amount of preparation or thoughtfulness can guarantee you will receive the response you desire from your kids. The best you can do is to work together for the sake of your children’s best interest.

Need guidance with divorce? Contact the Law Office of Marta J Papa for a St. Louis divorce mediator with over 30 years of experience.