As parents, we all want what's best for our kids. We want them to have happy childhoods. We want them to do well in school so that they will have as many opportunities as possible to seek out a satisfying and fulfilling career. We want them to see the world, have adventures (safely), and be happy. We also want them to love and be loved. We want them to have someone who will always be there for them and for whom they will always be there in return. We really do. One thing parents don't want for their kids is divorce. That's not surprising and it's not unexpected. Kids know this about their parents. So grown up kids who find themselves contemplating or in the midst of divorce will often falter when it comes to that moment when they need to actually tell their parents that their marriage is ending.
How to Tell Your Parents You Are Getting Divorced:
- Choose an Appropriate Moment: This is one of those moments in life for which timing is just crucial. You may decide to sit down as a couple (albeit a divorcing couple) and tell both sets of parents together. You may feel it best to let them know separately. This will depend upon your relationship with them and each other. But what you should not do is tell them after you've had a fight with your ex. Tell them when you are calm and collected. Choose a Saturday afternoon when there are no pressing appointments for anyone involved. This will allow them some time after the big reveal to actually let the news soak in and deal with any after shocks. One more additional tip is to never share the news at a family gathering or during a holiday celebration.
- Show Parents How You Tried to Work Out Your Troubles: We suggest showing parents that you worked on it and tried to make it work immediately because if you don't, it's the first thing they will ask. Did you try counseling? Did you try to work it out? Maybe you just need to compromise on a few things...Make sure they know that you are unhappy, it's a complex situation and the decision to divorce was a difficult one. Some couples with every intention of obtaining a divorce will continue to see a marriage counselor in order to keep conflict during divorce to a minimum while simultaneously showing parents and parent-in-laws that the marriage didn't fail due to a lack of effort.
- Don't Place Blame: It's too easy to get a parent's protective instincts working in overdrive when you start to place blame when your marriage is ending. Remember that this isn't only difficult for you. It's also difficult for both sets of parents. Help make the news easier for them to accept and understand by not placing blame on your ex.
- Break the News in Private: As one of the unavoidable questions that will be asked when sharing this life event with parents is, "what went wrong?" it's best to conduct the conversation in private. Unless you feel like publicizing the failings of your marriage, that is. If the news comes out and you are not in a private place simply let them know that it's a stressful situation and you need to talk about it in more detail with them at a later time. Be clear and firm, but advise them that you will definitely come to them if you need any advice, but that you need them to respect the decisions that you are making.
Deciding to get a divorce is tough and breaking the news to loved ones is disheartening at best. Hopefully, they will be understanding and supportive of your decision, but don't forget that there are a lot of emotions running rampant in this type of situation leaving a lot of room for things to go wrong. Avoid any extra drama by making sure to tell them right away. It will only make their reaction worse if they find out late in the game or, worse, from someone other than you.