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How to tell the kids you are getting a divorce

Having the divorce talk is not easy. Kids will have a very different perspective of the situation than you do. You need to understand what your kids might be thinking or feeling about this news so you can help them come to terms with what’s ahead.

Here are some tips on how to explain your divorce and support them through it:

Keep it simple

How a child reacts to divorce may depend highly on age and developmental state. For most ages, you should keep your explanation simple. Younger children will be especially unable to grasp the full concept of why divorce happens or why their parents would want to separate.

Try to think from their perspective about what they need to know. Many children still have a self-centered view of the world. They are probably concerned with logistics, such as how living arrangements will work now and how this will affect their individual life and schedule.

Remind them it is not their fault

One of the biggest thoughts to plague children during divorce is that they were the cause of it. Assure them that this is not true. Explain that you made a tough decision after talking over it. Make sure they know you will still fully support them and be there for them as a parent. The decision to separate is strictly between their parents and will not hurt their relationship with either of you.

Respect their emotions

Everyone will react differently to the talk. Children might become very distressed, sad, lonely, confused or outright angry. Be accepting of how they feel. Their emotions are valid. Reach out to them and talk it over if they are willing. Whatever you do, do not isolate yourself from them. They may take this as a sign that you do not care about them anymore either.

One way to provide stability as they sort through their feelings is to keep the same routines. A familiar schedule, like the same meal times and bed times, can ease them through the aspects of their life that are changing.

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