How to Tell Your Children About Your Divorce

Pesch Law Office PC

If you and your spouse are considering ending your marriage and you have children together, you probably have many concerns. Coming to terms with the marriage ending is already difficult, but adding the stress of how the divorce will affect your children can make things seem impossible. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information from child development experts and mental health specialists about how best to break the news of divorce to children.

Keep the Children’s Ages in Mind

The information you will give a five-year-old child about your divorce and what you will tell a fifteen-year-old should be different. Young children are not going to understand terms like “custody” or “separation.” Instead of getting into the details, experts suggest parents tell young children how the divorce will affect them and focus on reassuring the child. For example, parents can say something like, “Mommy and daddy are not going to live together anymore, but you will still see both of us all the time.” Make sure to reassure the child that the divorce is not their fault and that you, as parents, still love the child and will continue to be their parents.

Rhonda Freeman of Toronto’s Family Services Association explains that sometimes children think they can influence the separation. They need to know that it is a decision that did not happen because of them. She warns parents that children might think they can bring their parents back together, or that they somehow caused the divorce. If this is true, the children may have trouble getting on with the healing process. Be sure to help your child understand that your divorce was based on adult decisions which are not their responsibility and that they cannot change.

Be Intentional About the Timing

Experts encourage parents to tell their children they are getting divorced together. While this is not always possible, both parents being present during the conversation and showing a united front can help calm children’s initial fears about losing a parent. Parents should set a time to talk to the children during which they will not be interrupted. Plan for the children to have questions or need the information repeated. Children will react differently based on their age and personality. It is possible that your child or children will not be ready to immediately share their feelings about the news. Try to keep other routines consistent, and make sure you are available for your children to come to you with questions and concerns in the future.

Call a Denver Divorce Attorney for Help

If you have questions about divorcing with children, an experienced Douglas County family law attorney can provide the direction you need. Call to schedule a confidential consultation with our team at Pesch Law Office PC today. We will do everything we can to make the process easier for you and your children.