Talking With Your Children About Divorce

  1. Hold an inclusive meeting. If possible, both parents should be present. Doing so sets a precedent that you are willing to work together to meet the children’s needs. Also, all kids should be present. It is not appropriate for a child to learn of the divorce second-hand from a sibling.
  2. Remain as objective as possible. Children emulate their parents. If you are able to disclose divorce plans without blame or histrionics, the children will be more likely to react the same way.
  3. Offer a reason for the divorce. Children are ego centric. That is, they innately believe they cause events in their environment. It is important that your children know that they did not cause the divorce and that there is nothing they could have done to prevent it. When giving a reason for divorce, do not offer lurid details or slander their other parent. Remember that your children love you both, and forcing them to take a side will only cause stress.
  4. Provide known logistics. Tell the kids which parent is leaving the house. Explain who will take them to school and who will make dinner. Children need the security of knowing that they will be taken care of amidst changing circumstances.
  5. Reassure and empathize. Let your children know that you love them. Understand that your children may display an array of emotions. Give them time to process the news. Answer any questions they have. If it seems they are having a difficult time adjusting, consider short-term therapy to help them acquire necessary coping skills.

Originally posted Wednesday, August 15, 2012 7:04 PM.

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