Breaking the Bad News: Telling Your Children About Your Divorce

There’s absolutely no easy way to break the news to your kids that their mom and dad are splitting up. No matter how much time passes, the way that your child is told that their family is changing drastically as they know it will always stay with them, so it’s important to take the proper steps in explaining the situation to them in a way that will be as calm and honest and possible without adding to the initial shock and possible trauma a child will experience when hearing this news.

  • Gather the entire family and tell everyone at once. Avoid telling one child at once. You don’t want them feeling responsible to hold onto this news until their siblings know about it also. Let everyone know at the same time, in the same room, if possible.
  • Don’t assume how your child may or may not react. They will be responding with both positive and negative feelings, so let them feel however they want to feel, even if their feelings may confuse you. It is not your spot to tell them how to feel about this new and shocking situation.
  • Be supportive of the painful feelings and reactions that your child may have after telling them about the decision to split. Be prepared to answer difficult questions as honestly as you can. The children are just as involved in this as you are, and they need to know details and receive answers to their concerns. Be honest and open.
  • While you want to be as honest as open as you can to reassure your child that this is the best decision for everyone, avoid sharing inappropriate information with them. They don’t need to know the adult details – they either won’t understand them, or they will resent you for a number of reasons. Tell them what they need to know and avoid putting blame on the other parent, as that creates an invitation for them to place judgment in a situation they didn’t cause.
  • Remain united as parents. Try your best to mutually agree on things with your soon to be ex spouse, and send clear and similar messages from each of you back to your child. This will help them feel more secure and less anxious about the changes to come. Hearing conflicting messages from each side can create confusion for a child. Remain mutual on parenting decisions and other discussions you have with your child.

There’s nothing easy about breaking the news of a divorce to your children, no matter how young or old they may be. Let your children know that you are available to them whenever they need to talk or ask anymore questions about the situation. For assistance in the child custody process after a divorce, The Sampair Group will help you navigate the best ways to handle custody agreements and talking to your children about these new changes. Visit us today at www.sampair.com for more information and a free consultation.