How to talk to kids about divorce

When a legal issue arises in your family, the best way you can protect yourself and the ones you love is by consulting a family law attorney who understands how to help you.

Making the choice to end your marriage can be a big decision whether you have kids or not. However, as a parent, you understand that your divorce will impact more than just you and your spouse. This is why it can be so difficult to talk to your kids about the upcoming change.

However, it can be important to tell your kids about your divorce sooner rather than later. It may be more difficult for them to cope with divorce-related changes if they do not have adequate time to prepare for them. As you plan this important conversation, there are three considerations to keep in mind.

Be honest

Kids can often tell when something between their parents changes, and they deserve to know the truth. This includes the truth about your divorce, as well as the truth about the changes your divorce may cause.

However, children do not have the same ability to understand divorce as adults do. Although you should strive to be honest, you may need to break down the truth into terms your children will understand. Starting with a simple message may be the right approach.

Be united

If possible, both parents should be there for the conversation. You and the other parent should agree on your simple, truthful message and present it together without blaming one another.

It is also important for all your children to hear the news at the same time. This helps ensure that all your kids hear the same message, but it also prevents any child from feeling like he or she must keep secrets or was kept in the dark.

Be reassuring

Divorce can mean big changes for your kids, and they could have a variety of reactions to the news. It can be important for you and the other parent to reassure your kids that they will still see both parents, that both parents love them, that both parents will continue to provide care for them and that the divorce is not any child’s fault.

Young children may need to have several short conversations about divorce to understand what is happening. They may also need help understanding or communicating their feelings. Older kids may have a variety of questions right away and throughout the process. Regardless of your child's age, the need for reassurance may continue past the initial conversation.

Telling your kids about your divorce may be one of the most difficult conversations you have with them. However, your approach to the discussion can help them better understand and prepare for the changes ahead.

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