How Much to Share with Kids about Divorce

You and your spouse have discussed it over and over again and you are sure: You are getting a divorce. All that is left to do now is tell your child.
While you always wanted to be the parent who told their kids the truth, even when it was awkward or uncomfortable. But children and divorce are two tricky topics to entangle. How much should you share about the reason for your separation?
This is one of the most difficult conversations a parent can have and it seems that no matter how delicately the information is given, your child is going to get hurt. Here are 8 pieces of divorce advice to heed when it comes to talking to your children about your marital separation.

1. Be on the Same Page
As with most divorcing couples, each spouse will have their own version of events that led to the separation but trying to share two different viewpoints will only confuse your child or cause them to blame one parent for the breakup.
Before having the children and divorce conversation, decide together with your soon-to-be ex what you want to say about the reason for your separation. It is very important that you are on the same page with one another about the story you are telling before you approach your child with the news.
Stand firm as parents about your explanation. It will do your child no good if you tell them one thing as a couple and then badmouth your ex or change your story as soon as you are alone with your child.

2. Age is a Factor
One important piece of divorce advice is to make your explanation of your separation age-appropriate.
Young children will not need a drawn-out explanation. Simply tell them that you are no longer good for each other, remind your child that you both still love them and intend to parent them together (if possible).
Provide short, concise answers to basic questions such as where they will be living, how often they will see each parent, and who is moving out.
As children grow older they will require a more fleshed-out conversation. Of course, it is never appropriate to air your dirty laundry to your children, such as discussing any infidelity that occurred in the marriage, but a simple "My feelings were hurt and it will be better if we live apart" will suffice.
The older a child gets, the more explanation they will desire. As they near adulthood, how much information you give them is up to you and your spouse. But, it is important that you avoid disparaging your ex or saying something that would needlessly taint your child's view of their other parent. You do not want them to take sides, you just want them to know the facts.

3. Choose Honesty
Children may try to remedy your divorce or the pain they feel from your separation by asking such questions as, "Do you think you'll ever get back together?" or "Don't you love each other?"
As parents, it is your natural inclination to want to nurture your children and make them feel better, but do not do so at the cost of a lie. By answering "Maybe one day", "Who knows what the future holds?" or "Absolutely" to any of the questions above you will only give your child false hope and upset them more in the long run.
Honesty, truly is the best policy, even when it hurts.

4. Encourage Communication
Devote an appropriate amount of time to your conversation about getting divorced and encourage your children to communicate with you about how they are feeling. They may not want to talk right away and may even go into a state of shock, but don't give up on communicating with your children.
Encourage your child to communicate with you about how they are feeling. Remind them that it's okay to feel sad, hurt, or disappointed.
Just know that telling your children about your divorce will likely not be a one-time discussion. You may have many conversations about your divorce over weeks, months, and years following your separation. Be patient with your child as they continue to try and understand the reasons for your separation as they go through varying stages of maturity.

5. Be Respectful
No child wants to hear bad things about their parents. Divorce is painful enough without dragging your ex through the mud in front of your children. Do your best not to talk badly about your ex in front of your child, both when telling them of your divorce and in the months afterward. This will upset your child and make them feel like they must choose a side.
It is beneficial for children to see their parents acting mature and respectful to one another regarding the separation. By treating your ex with dignity and a calm demeanor, you will set the pattern for your children to follow.

6. Tell Your Children Together
Should you tell your child about your divorce separately or as a couple? If possible, always opt to do so together.
Children need to know that your divorce is not their fault, they need to be reassured of love, and they need to see that, while you may no longer be a romantic couple, you are still a united parental unit. You will still act as connected parents, taking what is best for your child into consideration together.
When parents are divorcing, it is important for children to feel as safe and secure as possible. Any sense of normality will be beneficial while telling them of your divorce. Seeing you sit together, united as parents will be comforting to them.

Talking to your children about your divorce is difficult, no matter what age your young ones are. The best divorce advice for talking to your children about your separation is to be honest and share only what is appropriate so that you do not damage your child's view of either parent.

Author Bio: Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. She is a featured writer for, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form