Telling Your Child You’re Getting A Divorce

Communication is very important especially when deciding to get a divorce and inevitably telling people, especially your child.  There is no easy way to do this and it’s not a conversation to look forward too but, the conversation is very important.

While divorce has an impact on adults, the reality is that kids usually take the news the hardest. What makes this especially challenging is that children don’t know how to express their feelings when their parents are getting divorced. Humans are terrible at dealing with transition, especially children. They look to their parents as the ones who provide them with food, shelter, and necessities. When the involvement or presence of a caretaker in their life changes, it can be traumatic. Children can feel abandoned, or believe that somehow it’s their fault. Addressing your children’s needs during your divorce should be at the forefront of your mind throughout the entire process.

Whether you and your partner tell your children together, or you’re left to do it alone, here are some tips that can help you:

    • Be honest.  Without going into detail, find a way to say what what happened and make sure it is age appropriate. Your children should not and do not need to know about infidelity, for example.  It could be as simple as “we don’t agree on what we want” or “we grew apart”.
    • Stay calm.  Your child may have questions that may upset you, you don’t have to answer them but, getting upset and ending the conversation in a dismissive way may cause more tension.
    • Ask them how they would like to spend their time with both you and your partner separately.  There may be some things that your child loves to do with just one of you that you never knew about.

We hope these tips help you navigate the conversation, of course not all family situations are the same.  The ultimate advice we can give, is to do what is best for you and they’re many resources to help you navigate!