How to Tell Your Child That You're Getting Divorced?
In her new book, It Doesn't Have to Be That Way, celebrity attorney Laura Wasser describes an alternate path toward divorce - one that keeps your family and your finances intact. In this exclusive excerpt from the book, Laura explains the best way to tell your children about your divorce.
Page 1 of 2
The following excerpt is from It Doesn't Have to Be That Way: How to Divorce Without Destroying Your Family or Bankrupting Yourself by attorney Laura Wasser.
To no one will your divorce be more important than to your children; on no one will its impact be more profound. They are your most important audience, and they are the first people you tell.
You don’t want them to find out in any other way, from anybody else. I know a couple who agreed to separate and decided to wait to do so until their kids’ school year had come to an end. But the kids somehow caught sight of their father in the company of the woman for whom he was leaving his wife, and the sight left them perplexed and somewhat frightened. When their mother learned of it, it was left to her to “admit” the separation, which she did in the car on the way home from school as she puffed nervously on a cigarette—after having given up smoking a decade before.
Nobody came out of that one unscathed.
I have heard some amazing stories about how my contemporaries learned a generation ago that their parents were getting a divorce. My friend Roger learned it at breakfast one morning when he was nine after he had a friend sleep over. “By the way,” said his mother, as his father sipped coffee, “Daddy and I are getting divorced. Go out and play.”
My friend Kate was 12, the middle child of three girls, when her mother called her daughters together, sat them down, and proceeded to deliver herself of a rant about their good-for-nothing father. She had married him only for security, she told them, but since he was such a loser, she was divorcing him, and they should consider themselves lucky. They didn’t. And the overload of damaging details about their father actually sent them rebounding to him in sympathy.
Try not to go to either of these moronic extremes: Don’t slough it off and don’t expound your grievances. And certainly don’t turn the telling into yet another competitive weapon against your spouse. This moment really does have to be about them. The kids. The change that’s coming in their lives. They are going to be okay— if you make it okay for them. The point is to show that you are there for them in this as in all things.
Prepare well to bring this off......