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5 tips for breaking the news of a divorce to children

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2024 | Blog, Divorce

Divorce is a challenging reality for children as much as for parents, maybe even more so given their lack of control. Through no fault of their own, they suddenly find their world in upheaval and their family torn apart.

It can be difficult to break the news of a divorce to children; it can be a painful topic no matter how the parents relay it. However, following a few tips can ease the process.

1. Choose the right time and place

Timing and environment matter when discussing divorce with children. Select a quiet, comfortable setting where distractions are minimal. Ensure that there is enough time for the conversation without interruptions.

2. Present a united front

Regardless of any differences between parents, presenting a united front is important when talking to children about divorce. This reinforces that both parents will continue to love and support them, even though the marital relationship is changing. Avoid placing blame or involving the children in any conflicts.

3. Use age-appropriate language

Tailor the language to the age and maturity level of each child. Use simple, honest and age-appropriate explanations. Younger children may need more straightforward language, while older children may benefit from more detailed explanations. Be prepared to answer their questions with patience and honesty.

4. Reassure the children

Children often internalize the idea that they are somehow responsible for their parents’ divorce. Reassure them that the decision is between the adults and is not a reflection of the children’s actions. Emphasize that both parents will continue to love and support them, irrespective of the changes in the family structure and that there is zero blame on their part.

5. Allow emotional expression

Children may respond to the news of divorce with a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, confusion or even relief. Be ready for these reactions and allow space for them to express their feelings. Encourage open dialogue, and let them know that their emotions are valid and welcome.

Telling children about an impending divorce is far from easy. The divorce itself may bring about many changes not just in their lives, but in their mental and emotional states and behavior. The important thing is to remain supportive and loving as parents and reassure the children that even if the parents’ relationship with each other changes, their relationship with their children will not.

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