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How To Talk To Your Child About Your Divorce

How To Talk To Your Child About Your Divorce

When going through a divorce with children, one of the hardest things you have to do is tell your children that you are getting divorced. Your news may upset them or make them feel guilty about their role in your relationship with your spouse. As a parent, one of your biggest duties is to ensure that your children feel safe, cared for, and understood emotionally as you all go through this difficult time.

Don’t Push Off Telling Your Children About Your Divorce

As tempting as it may be to postpone telling your children about your divorce, they will be able to figure it out, no matter how young they are. If you put off telling your children about your divorce, you might lose some of their trust or make them start to feel that you are keeping secrets from them, especially if they notice one parent leaving the home before you tell them. Even if you don’t tell your children everything -- which you shouldn’t in most cases -- explaining that you and your spouse are divorcing will help your children understand the change in their lives and why it is happening.

Come To An Agreement With Your Spouse

It is best for your child if you and your spouse discuss your divorce in the same way. This prevents mixed messaging and confusion for your child, which can make your discussions about divorce with your children easier for all parties.

Have a conversation with your spouse about how you both would like to address your divorce. Some questions you should answer in this conversation may include:

  • Will we tell our children why we are divorcing?
  • How much about our divorce will we tell our children?
  • How will we tell our children? Where?
  • Will we tell our children together?
  • How will we handle their questions about our divorce?

Addressing An Absent Parent In A Divorce

If the other parent is absent, then you will solely get to decide how to tell your children about your divorce. Create a plan for addressing the divorce with your children and how you will explain the absent parent. You can use the guiding questions above as you develop your plan or you can build your own that suits your children’s needs.

In some cases, you may have already had to explain to your children why their other parent is absent. This means that you can then focus solely on how to tell your children about your upcoming divorce with their other parent. Like you did with addressing the absence of their other parent, address how that parent’s absence now relates to your divorce, and answer any questions they have to the best of your ability.

Make Your Child Comfortable

When telling your children about your divorce, you should make your child as comfortable and relaxed as possible, to try and reinforce that your divorce is not a negative thing. This could mean taking your children on an outing at a location they enjoy, having a movie night at home, or finding a quiet time in the day when they are relaxed where you can have your conversation.

Creating a comfortable environment is key when having discussions about divorce because it can limit the uncomfortable feelings your child may have when you learn that you and their other parent are splitting up. Tell your child that you understand their concerns and you want to be there for them, no matter what may happen in your divorce.

If Comfortable, Encourage Asking Questions

If you feel comfortable, encourage your children to ask questions about your divorce. You may not be able to answer every question they have, but by encouraging your children to ask questions about your divorce, they can become more comfortable speaking about divorce and asking you or your spouse about any concerns they have.

Why Is It Important To Have This Conversation?

Telling your children about your divorce may not be the most comfortable of conversations, but if you create a plan to discuss the topic and have an idea of how you want to talk to your children about your divorce, it can make the process much smoother. Creating an environment where your children feel included and understood can also encourage them to ask questions about your divorce or discuss divorce in productive and positive ways.

If you are undergoing a divorce with children, our compassionate Garden City divorce attorneys can help. Call (516) 688-0088 to schedule a case consultation today!


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