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How to Tell Children About Divorce

Thursday, 10 March 2016

How to Tell Children About Divorce

Deciding to file for divorce is challenging; letting your children know is an entirely different kind of difficult. You want to be kind but firm, compassionate yet resilient. Read the tips below to learn some important information when talking to your kids about divorce.

Choose your timing.  Do not start talking to your kids until you know for sure that you are separating.  The uncertainty of hearing "Mom and dad are thinking about getting divorced" will create unnecessary stress for both you and your children.  Although there is never an "ideal" time, there are definitely bad times to deliver the news. When planning how to tell your children about divorce, avoid difficult or rushed times such as right before you head off to work and have no time to answer questions, school days, just before bed, or just before your child goes into their soccer practice.  You need to pick a time where both you and your partner can sit down together and either answer the questions that will come or dry the tears and be there for them.  

Telling your child together is highly recommended.  Regardless of your differences, try to agree on what you are going to tell your kids for their own sake.  Don't confuse them with contradicting stories.  By acting as a team when you when deciding how to tell your children about divorce, you will preserve your children's sense of trust in both of you. 

Keep it simple.  Use age appropriate terms.  When talking to your kids about divorce, limit the initial explanation to no more than a few key sentences.  Try deciding how the visitation days will work and where you will live before you speak to your children so that they are comforted by the fact that you two are handling this and have it figured out.  Most children will want to know that they will still see both parents and there is a plan in place, a new routine to come.  If your child has witnessed you two fighting, acknowledge that fact and explain that you're doing what's best for them and the family. 

Most importantly when planning how to tell your children about divorce is to reassure them that your separation is not their fault.  Children often blame themselves for the breakup.  They may think the change is happening because they didn't listen well enough, didn't clean their room, or didn't do well in school.  Comfort them by saying that divorce is an adult decision and is never a child's fault. Avoid the blame game.  Blaming your spouse for the divorce and arguing in front of your child will only make them feel as though they need to pick a side.  Your children look up to both of you; keep it that way by respecting each other.

While nothing you will be looking forward to, by being clear and respectful while talking to your kids about divorce, you can save future headaches and potentially become closer with your children. And if you need assistance with child custody, contact our Child Custody Lawyers today.

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