3 tips for telling children about divorce

October 13, 2015

Getting divorced can be extremely difficult on a family, particularly children. If parents are planning to get divorced, they should learn to carefully communicate the divorce when it comes to telling their children. If you're planning to get a divorce and want some advice about how to tell your kids, check out the list below for three helpful tips that can make breaking the news as easy and painless as possible.

3 tips for telling children about divorce

1. Tell your children together

  • If you and your partner are planning to get divorced, there's a good chance there's tension or ill will between you.
  • However, that should not stop you from telling your children the news of the divorce together. Having only one parent there, even if that parent is fair and impartial when delivering the news, only gives kids the chance to hear one side of the story.
  • Telling your children without your partner is a good way to make children immediately feel alienated from one parent or the other.
  • Telling your children at the same time will show that it was a mutual decision and will allow children to continue to trust both parents equally.

2. Make sure your children know that it was not their fault

  • One of the first questions children have or assumptions they make when they find out their parents are splitting up is that it is in some way their fault.
  • Make it your priority when you tell your kids about the divorce that your decision to split up had absolutely nothing to do with them.
  • Explain to your children that it was an adult problem between the two of you, and that the decision was not influenced by them.
  • This is a fact that might need to be reinforced repeatedly throughout the divorce.
  • It is also important because it minimises the chances that children will spend unnecessary time and energy trying to fix or repair the marriage.

3. Be honest, but keep it simple

  • When you're telling your children about the divorce, be straightforward with your reasons behind the split without getting too explicit or graphic.
  • You can explain to children that the marriage isn't working out without mentioning things like infidelity or dishonesty.
  • However, it's important that you be willing to be open and honest with children when they have questions for you, and they will most likely have many.
  • Even if the answers make you feel uncomfortable, it's important to allow children to feel free to ask you anything about divorce.
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