Talking to Your Kids About Divorce

November 20, 2018 by Lily Wright

Divorce may be one the most difficult conversations to have with your children.  When emotions are high and change is imminent, breaking the complicated news to the ones you love certainly isn’t an easy task. Luckily there are a couple helpful points to remember before diving into the conversation.

Present a united front.

It probably feels inherently contradictory to feel united with someone you are virtually quite divided with, but keeping appearances united is everything when it comes to your children. The last thing you want to do when approaching the conversation is to show acrimony or bitterness.

It can really be as simple as sitting down with your kids and presenting a united front. Even if the divorce isn’t a joint decision, it’s helpful to present it as such and to incorporate the word “we” as much as possible when going into the details.  Try to avoid sounding divided or separated, despite the circumstances at play. Understanding that this time isn’t about you or your spouse, but about your children and their emotional well-being will help you to keep your emotions, bitterness, and sadness aside.

Allow your kids to ask questions & answer thoughtfully

When the news hits, there’s a large possibility your children will feel confused, lost, or even unsure of what will happen next.  Depending on the usual dynamic of your household, news of a divorce may feel traumatic or scary, maybe even completely confusing. Although it may be difficult at first, it’s important to let your kids ask as many questions as they need. If you and your spouse can approach these questions without bitterness or sadness, it will reflect the normalcy of the situation and will also assure them it’ll all be OK soon enough. It’s also helpful to allow your children to have a negative reaction at first, and navigate that gently and delicately.  It’s important to put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would feel (or perhaps felt when your own parents separated), and go from there.

 

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