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Raising Children Topics..

You are here : home > Raising Children > Parental Relationships > Talking to Children about Divorce

Talking to Children about Divorce

Talking to Children about Divorce

Dealing with the prospect of their parents splitting up is hard for any child, but you can ensure that your children undergo minimal pain and uncertainty by preparing carefully before breaking the news to your child.

Dropping the dreaded ‘D’ word upon your innocent little children is a mission that most parents in the situation fumble at. Divorce is a double-edged sword, harming all involved in the process. Children are the collateral damage in every divorce. In order to minimise the damage caused to yourself and your children, it is necessary to prepare carefully before telling them about the impending divorce. In order to help your children process the news better; anticipate difficult questions, sort out your own apprehensions about the future, plan which details to share and which to withhold before talking to them.

What to Say and How?

Your children deserve to know the truth but you need to make it child-friendly. Show empathy but discuss the important issues upfront.

Both Parents Should be Present for the Announcement

It is important that you and your spouse put aside all your disagreements for the sake of your children and present a united front. Jointly come up with an agreeable explanation for your divorce before telling your children; and try to stick to it no matter what. Presence of both parents comforts children and shows them that while their parents’ relationship may be changing, they are not losing either of their parents with the divorce. Do not use the announcement as a way to blame your spouse as this will traumatise your children unnecessarily.

Be Honest

As part of the family, your children are entitled to know that there is going to be a major change in the family dynamic. Tell them that you are getting a divorce gently but do not beat around the bush about it. Simply explain that you and your spouse can no longer get along. Avoid getting into long winded rants about who is at fault.

Keep Their Age in Mind While Sharing Details of the Divorce

Younger children are normally satisfied with simple explanations but teenagers may demand more information. If you decide to share more details, endeavour not to spoil either parent’s image in your children’s eyes.

Say “We Love You.”

It may seem simplistic, but it is an important powerful message that your children need to hear. Assure them that while your feelings for your spouse may have changed, both you and your spouse will always love and care for them.

Avoid Blaming

When there have been heartbreaking incidences like infidelities, it is difficult not to blame your spouse in front of your child. But it is important that you show restraint and be respectful to your spouse while explaining the divorce to your child.

Provide Details about the Changes to Come

Foresee the questions your children will have about where they will be living and with which parent. Prepare your child by acknowledging that some things will be different now, and that you will take their opinion in making the decisions wherever possible.

Plan Changes in Arrangements

Discuss the living situation with your children before making the changes. Your children should not have to wake up one day and find that their father has taken his belongings and vanished. Share basic logistical information such as changes in school schedules and extra-curricular activities, etc.

Reassure Your Children Emotionally

Many children blame themselves for their parents' marital problems. They mistakenly assume that the divorce is a result of their bad academic performances, arguing with parents, misbehaving, etc. Often children end up believing that one of their parents do not love them anymore which is why they are leaving the house. These are very real fears and need to be treated by constantly reassuring them that they are loved and not to blame for marital problems.

Avoid Creating Abandonment Issues

Provide specific details about the parent who is leaving the home. If possible, both parents should try staying in the same home for at least a day or two after telling your child. Additionally, invite your child and your ex-spouse together for a meal at your new house after settling in. This will comfort you child by showing that while family dynamics are different now, the child will still be able to maintain loving relationships with both his parents.

Do Not Give them False Hope

Just because divorce is difficult for you and your children to deal with, do not give your children the impression that there might be a possibility of you and your partner working things out. This hope only helps in creating more bitter disenchanted children that blame you for all their problems.

Expect your children to have a lot of new questions and concerns over time. Answer truthfully as far as possible and admit you do not know the answer when you don’t. Give your children some time and space to adjust to the news. Help your children cope with the divorce by being patient and making an effort to ensure the steady presence of both parents in their lives.

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Peter Mayers
Peter Mayers.8 years ago
Although the discussion about divorce should be tailored to a child's age, maturity, and temperament, be sure to convey one basic message: What happened is between mom and dad and is not the kids' fault. Most kids will feel they are to blame even after parents have said that they are not. So it's vital for parents to keep providing this reassurance.
Sharon Shawk
Sharon Shawk.8 years ago
It is best to explain to the kids about divorce so that they get mentally prepared. what to tell depends on how much the kid can grasp and that depends on his age. It is best to keep away the details from the kids.
shailesh.9 years ago
HI i have 6.5 year old son we got separated its big problem for me to face society what should i do when ever i go to school to see parents meeting women around me look in different way. please help me i have not decided to get remarry again but i would love to marry some divorcee or widow who has child birth problem i would love to accept her one who look after me and my son from any part of world.some time i thing i should live india and settle abroad but then i decided running is not solution. i m very much worry about my son he keep on asking me about his mom what should i do please some one help me how i can make understand about fact to my son so i can secure his future. give your feedback it not possible for me to be in touch on net. any one who can help me u can bbm ur pin or invit me on blackberry so we can be in touch all the time my bbm pin is 21EB10CF do reply
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Discussion Forum - Recent Posts
How to tell your children that their parents are getting divorced? What all should you tell them? How can you help them process and accept the divorce in a healthy manner?
Sowmya Sowmya
I agree that we should think of our children before we dod anything. But if your marriage is truly bad, would you want to continue? How do you think your children feel when they see you fighting const...
read reply
Nehal Nehal
I agree that talking to children about divorce is the right step to take. I know people who have tried to hide it from their children but they did not know that the children already knew everything ab...
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Siddhesh Siddhesh
The worst part is when the parents drag their children into their problems. People think that they will win if they turn their children against the spouse. What they do not realise is that in the end,...
read reply
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