Talking to your children about divorce

A very useful piece from Georgia’s Northeast Cobb Patch:

When it comes to telling the children there are several things to consider.  Since your children are very young, you’re going to want to keep it simple and focused on the concrete elements of this process in how it relates to them and their world. They simply don’t have the cognitive capability yet to understand an abstract concept of “divorce” per se. What they need to see and feel is that while their family is going to make some changes, Mommy and Daddy are both there for them and will continue to be there for them. Here are some specific recommendations…


3.  Be sure you are united and well rehearsed in what you’re going to say as a team when you sit the kids down.  Take care of your own emotional needs with your own counselor or a supportive friend before you have this talk. It’s okay to show a little normal sadness but if you are too emotional to have the talk with them, wait until you are feeling clearer and stronger. You don’t want to alarm the children.

4. Focus on the simple concepts of how the family is going to change: Mommy and Daddy are going to live in two different homes and you are going to spend time with Mommy and Daddy. Reassure them about their school, friends, routine and make sure you both tell them that you both love them and are going to both be there for them.

5. Answer their questions with simple answers. Don’t make it complicated. Your three-year-old might want to know if Daddy will have a stool to reach the sink at the new house like she has at the house she is in now.  Your five-year-old might want to know if she can have her own room and what color the walls will be.  Don’t turn these questions into openings for abstract discussion.  Just reassure them on the concrete details.

One thought on “Talking to your children about divorce

  1. Sydney Lawyer says:

    Good simple advice. It is essential for the sake of children that a couple have a plan. Doing it together can diffuse some of the blaming of the other person in front of the children.

    News of divorce and separation will alarm children but it can be reduced with planning

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