Telling your children that you are getting a divorce may be hard to do, but it is one of the most important conversations you will ever have with them.
Keep these key points in mind when talking to your kids about divorce.
- Give age-appropriate information. Tell your children only as much as they can comprehend at their ages. Very young children will just need to know you are living apart now. More details will just confuse them. School-age kids likely have friends with divorced parents, so use this as a point of comparison. Older children will ask questions and want to know more. Be honest without oversharing.
- Talk to them with your spouse. If at all possible, you and your spouse should talk to your kids together. It is essential that you tell them you will continue to be their parents and take care of them together. Presenting a united front will make the information easier to grasp.
- Tell them what this means for them personally. Children don’t want to know the details of the property settlement or how you feel about your spouse. They want to know how it affects them. Will I have to move? Can I go to the same school? Where will Mom/Dad live now? When will I see you? This is the information your children need.
- Keep blame out of the conversation. Your children should not be exposed to the deep reasons for the divorce and who did what to whom. Offer general information, such as we don’t love each other anymore or we’ve decided we would be happier living apart.
- Reassure your children. Be very clear that both parents will always, always love them and will always be there for them. Parents and kids cannot ever get a divorce from each other.
- Keep talking. Children usually process the information then come back in the days and weeks following the news with questions. Keep the lines of communication open and be prepared to answer the same questions again and again as your child works through the information.