Talking to kids about a divorce

Breaking the news of a divorce to their children may rank as one of the most difficult conversations that parents must have. Children may have a range of reactions to the news that their parents plan to split up.

Preparing for this talk ahead of time may help ease parents’ nerves and make the discussion as positive an experience as possible for their children.

Have the talk together

According to Psychology Today, talking to the kids together may help parents give their children essential reassurance as they break the news of a divorce. Sitting down together may show parents’ commitment to continuing to work together and help reaffirm to the kids that they bear no fault for the separation.

Plan what to say

Before talking to the kids, it may benefit parents to plan what they will say. Discussing a divorce may carry an array of emotions, which may come out unintentionally and in a way that does not best serve the children. Deciding what to say ahead of time may help parents avoid blurting things out impulsively that their kids do not need to hear or know.

Avoid placing blame

Parents may want to share the truth with their children; however, placing blame for the divorce on either parent may have a negative impact on the kids. To avoid making children feel caught in the middle or as if they must choose a side, parents should explain their split using a non-blaming narrative.

Prepare for questions

According to KidsHealth.org, children of divorcing parents may have questions about the impending changes to their lives and family structures. Some may wonder about the reasoning or want answers about things they have overheard. Others may inquire how the divorce will affect them directly. For example, they may ask which parent they will live with or if they will have to switch schools.

Going through a divorce may affect all those involved, especially the children. Working to limit the conflict and achieve a resolution as efficiently as possible may help parents and their children begin the process of moving forward.