10 Useful Tips On How To Tell Your Children About Divorce

10 Useful Tips On How To Tell Your Children About Divorce


Confronting your children with the news of your impending divorce will be one of the most emotionally taxing discussions ever. If your spouse is planning to divorce or separate, it is in your children's best interest to inform them yourself rather than having them hear it from someone else. Consider how upsetting it would be if a trusted adult or a friend told you that! Children are excellent memory sponges and are likely to retain the details of this dialogue, including when and where they heard it.

Communicating the news to your kids should be a joint effort between you and your partner. Consider the following tips to help you talk to your kids about divorce and sail through the other side in a much healthier way.


1. To begin, think through the words you will use

If you or your partner feels wounded or angry, it is not the right time to have a discussion with your children. Remember your children need to feel safe, regardless of the divorce. Do it on a day when you can spend time together as a family, like the weekend. Do not do it right before bedtime or school on a particular day.

 If communicating with your spouse is particularly challenging or if you simply cannot come to an agreement on how to proceed, you may want to hire a mediator, divorce coach, or counselor for assistance. Don't be hasty and say it out of the blue while you're upset. It's safe to say that won't end well.


2. Family discussion with your young kids

Even though it may be challenging, showing your children that you and your partner are dedicated to parenting as a team is invaluable. It's also critical that your kids hear the news from you and your partner, not through one of their siblings. Therefore, if your children are young in age, it is best to discuss the truth with them all at once. You should have a separate discussion with the older kids later. Seek assistance in formulating your strategy if you feel you cannot do it collectively for reasons of safety or dispute.


3. Create a story that does not place blame

Don't be sucked into saying "it's their fault" or trying to pin the blame on anyone. Perhaps you feel obligated to tell your kids the "truth" about the situation at home, such as "Mom had an affair" or "Dad is leaving us." Your children will be torn in two different directions and have a complex loyalty dilemma.

Instead of worrying about whether or not you're telling your kids the "truth," focus on giving them the love and comfort they want. Use the pronoun "we" while describing the group's decision-making process. "We have attempted to sort out our disagreements but haven't been able to, yet we're both unhappy here."


4. Explain to your children “why"

You may feel that explaining your reasons for wanting a divorce is unnecessary or not even desirable. Yet, your kids will naturally wonder what's going on. Older children will inquire about the upcoming changes in their lives. You shouldn't reveal private information, but you should be ready to offer an explanation that doesn't place blame. Use the following sentences when you talk to your kids about divorce:

“We never thought this would be the case, but now we can't seem to mend fences.” Or, “We’ve reached a point where we can be friends without loving each other.” Keep in mind that these are issues that only adults face and that even the most observant and astute children will not fully grasp.


5. Explain to your children what they may expect to see and what will remain constant

How your divorce will affect your children is naturally their first concern. Your children may be curious about their future living arrangements and the move's effects on them. By being open with your kids about what you do and do not know, you can better prepare them for the upcoming changes.

Communicate this to your children if you and your partner agree on how you will divide parenting responsibilities. Discuss how their lives will continue to be similar to how they know them now, such as their school, friends, sports, etc. Be careful to let them know that your affection for them will never alter. Provide them the assurance that parents can divorce, but they never divorce their children.

6. Decide which parent will leave the family and make it known to the children

Unless you want to hide the other parent from your children, it's in everyone's best interest to be honest about the parent who is leaving, when they are leaving to which location, and visiting dates. They must be reassured that they can have a good relationship with both parents although they are no longer cohabiting. 


7. Confidence is the key

Your children will need reassurance that the divorce is not their fault. You should emphasize that they are not to blame for what is happening. Don't make promises you will most likely not be able to follow because of the uncertainty at the beginning of a separation.

Never guarantee that kids will continue to attend summer sleep-away camp or that you won't ever have to relocate until you're pretty positive that you won't. Instead, stay with the guarantees you can provide for the current time: "You will still go to your school," or "You'll still enjoy Christmas and birthdays and sleepovers with your friends." Say something like, "We will all be okay when we get acclimated to the new arrangements," to reassure them that things will settle down after the initial adjustment period.


8. Understand your kids’ reactions

Their lives will be changed in many ways they can't even begin to imagine right now, and the news may (or may not) come as a complete surprise. The absence of a reaction is itself a reaction, so try to treat it with the same degree of compassion you would if the person were crying or irate. Your youngsters may not know how to communicate their powerful feelings. They may shut down if they're too overburdened. Your kids will be less worried and more confident that everything will be well if you can maintain your composure while breaking the news to them.

However, letting your children see you cry or unhappy is okay since it gives them "permission" to feel the same way. Ensure you have enough emotional self-control so you won't need to rely on them. Remember, it is crucial to tell them that everyone in the family will adjust to the changes and recover.


9. Encourage them to ask questions (but don't be rude if they don't)

Some youngsters just don't want to open up right immediately. Others will have numerous queries. To the degree that you can, be honest and unambiguous in your replies. If you can't answer a question directly, say so and promise to get back to them when you do. It is the beginning of a dialogue that will develop in many directions. They should be aware that they may always ask further questions if they think of anything else to probe. But be cautious to keep them out of the legal and financial difficulties as you progress toward divorce.


10. Allow them some time to process the information

Both you and your kids will need time to adjust to this massive shift; while you may be sure of the future you're building for your kids, they may need more time to see it come to fruition. Be emotionally present and comforting in the meanwhile. By showing them how you adapt and heal through time, you may help others do the same.



Telling your kids about the divorce is a stressful and emotional ordeal for everyone. Still, children frequently feel that their whole world has flipped upside down. At any age, it may be devastating to watch the disintegration of your parent's marriage and the family's split. Kids may feel astonished, unsure, or furious. Some may even feel guilty, blaming themselves for the troubles at home. Getting a divorce is never easy, and it's only natural that there will be some heartache and stress associated with the change.

Separation and divorce may be unhappy, stressful, and confusing for children. However, some strategies may be implemented to aid your children in adjusting to the changes that accompany a separation. Reduce your children's suffering significantly and put their health and happiness first by following the advice on ParentalMastery.com.

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