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How to break the news of divorce to your children

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2023 | Family Law

If you’ve found your way to our website, you’re probably considering seeking a divorce. It’s a major decision to make, and one that can reshape the way you live your life for years, perhaps even decades, to come.

As stressful as that may sound, there are strategies that you can implement to ensure that you’re positioned for success once your divorce is finalized. But before you even get to the legal nuances of your case, you may be struggling with how to get by with the emotional realities of your day-to-day life. This includes figuring out how to tell your children that you and their other parent are getting divorced.

Tips for talking to your children about divorce

Although children are incredibly fragile, they’re also extraordinarily resilient. This means that you’ll want to strike a fine balance in how you broach the topic of divorce with your children. If you do it right, you might be able to reduce the tension and trauma often associated with receiving such earth-shattering news.

So, what do you need to do to ensure that you’re breaking the news as smoothly as possible? Here are some tips that you may find helpful:

  • Don’t wing it: You don’t want to go into this conversation with your children unprepared. This can lead to you tripping over your words and saying things that you don’t mean. Therefore, make sure that you have a plan for what you’re going to say and how you might respond to some obvious questions that might come up.
  • Talk to your children together: If you can, it’s best for you and your spouse to tell your children about the divorce together. This will show a united front and prevent your children from viewing one of you as the bad guy.
  • Don’t play the blame game: Regardless of how you feel, you should avoid bashing the other parent when you talk to your children about divorce. If you slam the other parent, you may harm the relationship between your children and that parent, and it might backfire on you, causing your children to resent you for destroying their perception of the other parent.
  • Tell your kids about anticipated changes: Your children thrive on stability and routine. The threat of disruption can leave them feeling uneasy and stressed. Therefore, it’ll be helpful for you to spell out what will and won’t change for them once the divorce process is finalized. Hopefully, you and your spouse can work on developing consistency between your two households.
  • Reassure them: With so much uncertainty in the air, your children need as much reassurance as they can get. You certainly don’t want to overpromise anything, but you can remind them that certain things won’t change even after the divorce is finalized.
  • Allow them to talk: Your children are going to experience a whole host of emotions. This is normal. Don’t try to make them feel differently than they do. Instead, be understanding and encourage them to engage you in conversation. Be willing to answer their questions, too, without judgment.

There is a bright future ahead

We know that the future may seem uncertain and even bleak at times when you’re going through a divorce. But you can and will get through this. And your children will find a new sense of normal once the dust settles.

You just need to have a plan moving forward and stick to it. Hopefully, you can move forward with confidence, working to protect your children’s best interests.