How should you discuss divorce with your children?

Stress from a divorce can affect not only you and your ex-spouse but your children as well.

Talking about this topic can seem intimidating, but anticipating what may happen can help you prepare to break the news.

Stay calm and honest

According to the Mayo Clinic, children feel frightened by sudden changes in their daily lives and can often react in an extreme way once you talk to them. You can help reduce their worry by speaking calmly and being direct about what will happen in the future.

Talk frankly about where they may live or if they may change schools. Do not be afraid to state that it is ok to be sad or nervous about these changes. Children usually have many questions about day-to-day issues, like who will drive them to places.

Tell them to not pick sides

In some cases, children may feel as if they must support one parent more than the other after a divorce. A child may assign blame to you or your ex-spouse while trying to emotionally work through these changes. Reassure them that you both still get along and love them the way you always did.

Keep details to a minimum

While you should be honest when explaining why you are divorcing, children do not need to hear every reason. Only include relevant and age-appropriate details when discussing the topic, so as to not confuse or worry them.

The younger a child is, the more likely he or she will need a simplified and direct explanation. Addressing divorce can be tough when talking to your children, but reassuring them throughout the process can make it easier.

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