Christopher says he overheard his parents' fights and threats of divorce. He says his mother, Yvette, told him about the divorce first, and he told his brother Colin. "My mom sat down with me and she told me, and she was very careful because I was crying a lot. I went to my room and then I told my brother," he says. "When I told him, he was shocked just like me, and he started crying."
Gary has three rules about the right way to break the news of your divorce to your children.
Once you break the news to your children, Gary says it's important to listen and help them deal with their sadness. "They [may] start crying, and then you hold hands. You hug. You sit. You allow them to ask questions."
One thing Gary says many children ask is, "Why is this happening to me?" When faced with this question, parents should avoid bad-mouthing their spouses. "There's a couple things we have to explain to kids. We don't want to give them specific reasons, because we don't want to start blaming each other. Number one is to give them some general ideas that are meaningful, [such as], 'In our marriage, we didn't love each other enough. We were too selfish. Maybe we didn't get help early enough. We said nasty things that we couldn't take back,'" he says. "Real things that maybe they can learn from your mistakes under those circumstances."