5 Tips for Talking to Your Children About Divorce or Legal Separation

5 Tips for Talking to Your Children About Divorce or Legal Separation

Anytime a couple decides to divorce it is difficult but when children are involved it becomes even more complicated and difficult.  Whether you are engaging in a contentious or amicable divorce it is important to consider your words carefully when explaining things to children because it will impact them for the rest of their lives.  Telling your children that you are getting divorced and explaining what will happen will differ depending on the age of your children but nevertheless it is never a good idea to just blurt it out while driving in the car after school.  You need to consider how the information will be received, choose your words, and choose an appropriate time and circumstance to explain your impending divorce to your children.  Below are 5 tips for talking to your children about divorce or legal separation.

5 Tips for Talking to Your Children About Divorce or Legal Separation

1. If Possible, Speak to Children Together

As divorce mediators, we understand that not all divorces are amicable and emotions can be running very high.  Even if you can hardly stand the sight of each other it is important that you try to remain a united front for the children and explain what is happening together.

2. Keep It Simple

When explaining divorce to children it is important to keep it child-friendly and use age-appropriate language.  Don’t use big words they cannot understand, ask if they understand what you are saying, and thoroughly explain things like where each parent will be living and where they will be living under these new circumstances.  Divorce will be confusing and upsetting to your child no matter what but if you provide age-appropriate information they will be less confused and scared.

3. Don’t Play the Blame Game

No matter what age your children are they do not need to hear you blame the other parent.  Every circumstance is different but trying to turn a child against the other parent or blame the divorce on their actions is never going to be productive or healthy for your child.

4. Don’t Overshare

Just like it is not a good idea to play the blame game, it is also not a good idea to overshare.  Your children do not need to hear about a spouse’s gambling habit, infidelity, marital strife, or other details that do not directly impact their safety and security.

5. Keep Calm

It is important that when you are telling your children that you are divorcing you remain as calm as possible.  That means not screaming, arguing, or crying (if possible).  By trying to remain calm it will allow children to form their own feelings about what is happening, ask questions, and feel safe.

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