Talking to kids about divorce is hard enough – what about talking to your stepchildren about divorcing their mother or father? Blended families are complicated, and when divorce enters the picture again, children can be confused, angry, and sad. How should you talk to them about the upcoming changes in their lives? And what issues specific to stepchildren are important to address?
- Tell them you love them. You’ve helped raise these children, you’ve held them while they cried, you’ve gone to their baseball games. Make sure that they know that just because you will no longer be romantically involved with their mom or dad, you will still care for them. Biology doesn’t matter.
- Tell them it isn’t their fault. These children are probably going through their second divorce or breakup – and they may mistakenly think that it is their fault that this keeps happening to them. Be sure that they know the divorce has nothing to do with them.
- Tell them you aren’t abandoning them. Unfortunately, you will probably not get custody of your stepchildren or even visitation rights except in special circumstances. But this does not mean you will have to drop off of the face of the earth. With your ex’s blessing, you can still be a part of their lives. Make sure they know that.
You should understand that relationships between stepparents and stepchildren may vary widely, especially depending on age. Consider speaking with a family counselor during this process if you aren’t quite sure what to say – or what your child needs to hear.
To schedule a consultation with a Seattle child custody attorney, call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today: 425-460-0550.