Discussing divorce with your children is one of the most challenging conversations a parent can face. Navigating this subject requires thoughtful planning, open communication and an understanding of your children’s emotional needs.
There are steps and considerations to help you approach this difficult topic with compassion and clarity.
Choosing the right time and place
According to the NIH, only 60% of American children live with both of their biological parents. If your spouse has already moved out of the home, your kids may already suspect something is going on. Select a time to talk about it with your children when everyone can sit down without distractions, ensuring a quiet and comfortable environment. This will create a conducive atmosphere for an open and honest discussion.
Emphasize stability and reassurance
The news of divorce can be unsettling for kids. Assure them that, despite the changes ahead, your love and support for them will remain constant. Reiterate that the divorce is not their fault and that both parents will continue to be actively involved in their lives.
Maintain honesty and age-appropriate information
It is important to be honest but it is equally important to provide information that is suitable for your children’s age and maturity level. Avoid oversharing intricate details or placing blame. Instead, offer a simple and honest explanation that addresses their concerns.
Allow your children to express their feelings, even if it means hearing things that are difficult to digest. Provide a safe space for them to voice their concerns, fears and questions. Reassure them that their emotions are valid and that you are there to support them.
Avoid making promises you cannot keep
During emotional conversations, it is easy to offer promises that may not be realistic. Naturally, you want to alleviate your children’s anxieties but be cautious about making commitments that you cannot keep.
When talking about divorce with your children, remember, your ongoing love and support are key pillars that will guide them through this transition and help them emerge stronger and more resilient.