Divorce can be a sad, stressful, emotional, and confusing time for everyone involved. And children, in particular, can experience massive upheaval. This article aims to address some of the challenges you may encounter and answer a few of the questions you may have about your children when going through a divorce, including how to tell your children, whether children get a choice of who to live with, and how best to support your children.
How Do I Tell Child About My Divorce?
It is difficult to find a way to tell your children about your divorce. Explaining what’s happening and why is never easy for parents or children. Here are some tips for telling your child about your divorce to help your child cope and ensure they feel supported:
- Prepare what you’re going to say beforehand so that you can anticipate tough questions, then tell your children together with your ex-partner so that you can present a united front.
- Explain to your children that you know it is hard for them and that you’re sorry. Reassure them that it’s not going to be easy but it is going to be okay.
- Tell them you both still love them. Let them know that they can continue to have a loving and supportive relationship with both parents.
- Be clear that it is not their fault, but a decision made between the parents.
- Try to avoid blaming the other parent and don’t share negative feelings about them.
- Be age-aware. Keep in mind their age and their level of understanding. Younger children will require a simpler explanation, whereas older children may want more detail. Give a kid-friendly explanation and use language they will understand.
- Tell the truth – your kids are entitled to know why you are getting a divorce, but pick something simple and honest such as ‘we don’t get along any more’. You don’t need to give them information they don’t need, such as about affairs.
- Try to answer their questions honestly but don’t be afraid to tell them you don’t know the answer.
- Try to comfort them with hugs.
- Whether there are tears, anger, pleading, or fear, allow them to express their feelings. Acknowledge their feelings and tell them that it’s ok to be upset.
- Address changes and future living arrangements by acknowledging that things will be different and some things will change.
- Let them know they can talk about their feelings with you and they can talk to you about the divorce any time.