Talking to Kids About Divorce

Click below to share this on social media:

Our divorce clients frequently tell us that their biggest concern, more than money and property, is how to get their kids through their divorce with as little trauma as possible. While you are trying to break away from your spouse, you are not trying to break away from your kids, but it may sometimes be difficult to express that to them. Here are some tips from The Huffington Post for the best ways for parents to tell their kids about their divorce:

1. Don’t try to sugarcoat the truth.

Your kids need to hear the truth of the situation. Telling them that “this will only be for awhile” and “it’s really a good thing for everyone” will not make it true. Don’t raise their expectations that everything will be pleasant, and that you and your spouse are likely to get back together. If it turns out that you do, then that will be a pleasant surprise. As is more likely, you probably will not, so start taking the steps to make them understand the truth.

2. Emphasize that you are not breaking up with them.

The primary thing that you need to express to kids at any age is that you are not divorcing them. Tell them that although you and your spouse no longer love each other, you still love them. Make sure they understand that you will continue to work together as parents, and the parenting relationship will not change.

3. Don’t try to hide your feelings.

This is not going to be a pleasant conversation to have no matter how you do it. Pretending that you are happy and putting on a brave face will confuse your kids, because it might indicate that things will be happy and easy going forward. However, be sure to not criticize your spouse (this is a good tip in general, as well). It is fine to cry, and to tell your children that you are sad about the end of the marriage. Even if, from your perspective, it is all the other party’s fault, don’t bring that anger into the discussion.

4. Don’t expect perfection

The bottom line is that there is no perfect way to tell your kids that you and your spouse are divorcing. It is a good idea to discuss with your spouse what to say, and to prepare answers to possible questions. However, all children will react differently, especially when faced with something as surprising and potentially upsetting as divorce. Just remember that divorce is a process, and your kids will be able to talk to you both during and after. This conversation is a start, not the end.

Contact our experienced divorce lawyers today to discuss your case!