How to Tell Your Kids About Divorce in a Sensitive and Thoughtful Way

When it comes to divorce, there are many different ways to tell your kids. While some parents choose to be blunt and tell their children the truth about why their parents are splitting up, others choose a more sensitive and thoughtful approach.

Children see more than we often realize, and may have been sensing the troubles that have led up to divorce. This will lead to fears and questions about the new, unknown territory that they find themselves in and about their future. Honest and sensitive discussions, carefully answering their questions, can go a long way to reassuring them and provide an easier transition.

While divorce may seem like a permanent change, it is actually a temporary one. While it may be difficult at first, your children will eventually adjust to the new situation. Remember, they are going through a lot of changes right now and both parents should be there to help them through it all.

Start Early

One of the best ways to prepare your kids for a divorce is to talk about it early on. Start by explaining that your parents are no longer together and why things have changed. Let them know that they won’t always live with one parent, but that they will always be loved and cherished.

Be Honest But Respectful

When you tell your kids about the divorce, be honest but respectful. Don’t bash the other parent, or make the children feel like they’re to blame. Instead, focus on explaining why things have ended and what they can expect in the future.

Be Grateful

Not all divorces are easy, but remember to be grateful for the love and support you can provide during this difficult time. Show your children that you understand how difficult it can be and appreciate everything they do for you both.

Approach the Discussion Together

When discussing divorce with your children, it is important to approach the discussion together as a team. This will help you to have a successful outcome for all involved. By working together and collaborating, you can create a plan that is best suited for everyone involved. Additionally, ensuring that your children understand the process and why it is happening can help them cope with the change.

When telling your kids about their parents’ decision to get divorced, make sure that you are patient and respect their feelings. And don’t assume what those feelings are, but ask, and help them identify what they are feeling along the way. Doing so will help them feel heard and understood. Additionally, show them that you care about their well-being by being there for them during this difficult time.

telling children about divorce

Use Everyday Language

When parents get divorced, there can be a lot of feelings and emotions that go along with it. One way to help kids understand what is happening is to use everyday language when talking to them about divorce. For example, you might say that one of their parents has decided to end their relationship and move apart.

Using language that they can understand based upon their age will help them process and be able to ask questions.   It is also important to avoid telling them that their parents are “divorcing” instead of “getting divorced.” This terminology can be confusing for kids and could lead to them feeling upset or angry about the situation.

Be Honest and Upfront About Your Feelings

When discussing divorce with your kids, it is important to be honest and upfront about your feelings. This will help your children understand what is happening and give them the opportunity to express their own feelings. It is also important to be open about communicating with each other and setting expectations for the future. By being upfront, you will help create a less stressful environment for all involved.

This can also be a good time to emulate for your children how they should handle difficult situations in their own relationships in the future. Modeling amicable communication now will help them to do the same in the future.

Explain the Reasons For Divorce

There are many reasons why couples may choose to divorce. Often, one or both spouses may feel that the relationship has run its course, and they no longer enjoy being together. Other times, there may be significant problems that have led to a rift in the relationship.

Regardless of the specific reasons, it’s always important for children to have a basic understanding of what can lead to a break-up. By explaining the reasons for divorce in an age-appropriate way, kids can better understand why their parents might need to go their separate ways.

This is even more important when you consider that children often think something they did has caused the divorce. They need to understand that is not the case and be reassured that they played no role in the adults deciding to separate.

Focus on Healing and Mending Relationships

There are many reasons why people get divorced. Sometimes the couple just doesn’t feel right together anymore and can’t see a way to make things work. Other times one or both partners may be cheating on each other, or simply growing apart.

Whatever the reason, when a marriage ends in divorce, it can be difficult for both spouses involved. It can be hard to adjust to new living arrangements and new relationships, and sometimes feelings of betrayal and anger arise. 

It’s very similar to the different stages of grief that we may go through, since it is the end of a relationship for the parents, and your children will be grieving in their own way.

The best way for kids who are going through a divorce to cope is by focusing on healing and mending their relationships with family and friends. This will help them process the emotional turmoil they’re going through and start rebuilding their lives moving forward.

Help Your Kids With Their Developmental Needs

When a family decides to divorce, it can be an extremely difficult experience for everyone involved. It is important to remember that children go through different stages of development as they grow, and will likely experience different emotions based upon how old they are when this occurs.

It is important to talk to your children about what is happening and help them understand the reasons for the divorce. This will help them develop coping mechanisms and deal with their feelings in a healthy way.

Set Clear Guidelines and Boundaries

When couples decide to divorce, their children may feel bewildered and confused. It is important to have clear guidelines and boundaries in place so that the children know what is happening and understand the reasons for the split.

It is also important to be honest with your children about the divorce process. Let them know what will happen during each step of the process, from filing paperwork to final court proceedings. Explain why one parent may have to leave their home temporarily or for an extended period of time. Let them know that both parents still love them very much and will make every effort to keep close relationships with them during this difficult time.

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your children understand what is happening in their family and feel supported during this difficult time.

When needed, do not hesitate to connect with a counselor or therapist, who can assist you in helping your children navigate the divorce in the most healthy way possible.

Remember, we are not attorneys, and our articles should not be taken as legal advice. We always recommend that you consult a professional if you have specific questions related to your personal circumstances.