Breaking the News: How to Talk to Your Kids About Divorce

“There’s something we need to talk about… Mom and Dad have decided to get a divorce.”

The words are simple, but saying them is hard. Divorcing parents tend to agree that breaking the news to the kids is one of the most difficult parts of ending a marriage. How will they react? Will this cause heartbreak that they struggle to mend for the rest of their lives? Will they understand it’s not their fault? The questions and concerns are endless. Read on to find our tips for making this difficult conversation as successful as possible.

  1. Tell them together.

We recommend that Mom and Dad should have this conversation with all of their children at once. Telling older children first can make them feel responsible for keeping a secret or protecting their younger siblings. It is also important that both parents are present when the news is shared — this helps your children understand that they do not have to take sides. It also keeps either parent from presenting a biased perspective of the situation that could cast the other in a bad light. 

  1. Listen. 

This is an emotional conversation. You will have a lot to say, but you also need to take time to let your children speak. Listen to how they’re feeling. Listen when they tell you what concerns are on their mind. Gaging their initial reaction can give you a clearer idea of how you’ll need to help the cope throughout the process. 

On the flipside, don’t be overly concerned if your child doesn’t have much to say. It’s totally normal to be quiet, especially after a shock. Different children process things in different ways. 

  1. Answer questions.

Children tend to ask the hard-hitting questions. “”Why don’t you love each other anymore?” “Why can’t you stay married?” “Who will take care of me if you’re not together?” Do not dismiss questions just because there’s not an easy answer. Be honest without casting any blame. Answering your children’s questions to the best of your ability reassures them that you take their worries and emotions seriously and that you’re going to do your best to help them through this.

  1. Welcome ongoing dialogue.

Don’t make your children feel like this has to be a one-and-done conversation. Assure them that you understand they’ll have more questions as time passes and they have more time to think about what is happening. Let them know you’re willing to talk more anytime they want or need. 

Who can help me as I face my divorce? 

If you’re getting a divorce, you need the guidance of a compassionate attorney who understands what you are going through and realizes that divorce impacts so much more than the husband and wife. The Sharp & Dye team is ready to represent you. To get started, give us a call at (321) 951-7600.

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Sharp & Dye Law

Lindsey Sharp and Deborah Dye are attorneys who strive to provide compassionate representation and the highest level of service to our clients. The Sharp & Dye team has extensive experience in all areas of family law.

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