Circumstances for Telling the Children
The ideal time for parents to inform children of a divorce is on a Saturday morning of a three-day weekend when all family members will be home for the whole weekend. On Saturday mornings, children tend to be most well-rested; sufficient sleep grants them the best access to the resources they require to cope with shocking, emotionally overwhelming and confusing information. Additionally, making the divorce announcement during the weekend provides the kids with plenty of quiet, relaxed time with both parents available and ample opportunities to address worries and concerns with each parent individually. This also reduces tension; both parents are at home, so the children are reassured that both parents are all right. When one parent is absent, children feel worried and sad about that parent to the point that they are unable to adequately focus on their own emotional response.
How to Tell the Children
Optimally, divorcing parents should spend two to three weeks meeting with a counselor to develop a specific script. A counselor can help you anticipate common feelings and questions, as well as formulate replies that do not diminish either parent. Neither parent wants to leave their children with less respect for either parent. Without the preservation of kids' respect for both parents, the child will lack a parent to turn to during those teenage times of stress and confusion. To avoid vulnerability to adverse peer influences during these difficult years, teenagers are an age group particularly in need of loving and guiding parents.
To learn more about teenagers and the best ways to nurture and help them through adolescence, view my page about The Teenage Years.