Warren, Carlson & Moore, LLP

Tips for talking to your children about divorce

If going through a divorce is challenging for you, imagine how your children probably feel. When parents make the decision to separate, it marks a major change for their children. Everything that they have grown accustom to is going to be different and it may be difficult for them to understand why. Likewise, it may be tough for you to sit down and have a conversation with them about your divorce.

There is not a perfect method to talking to your children about divorce because every situation is different. It is important that you handle the conversation delicately and understand that effective communication ultimately is the best way to avoid harming your children emotionally.

Be honest and gentle

It is important to be honest with your children when you tell them about your divorce. This does not necessarily mean share all the details about why you and your spouse are separating. You still need to be gentle and consider the feelings of your children. Finding balance is crucial. It is important be straightforward and speak factually. You do not want your children to catch you in a lie because this can make an already difficult situation worse.

Listen to your children’s thoughts

When you have finished explaining the situation to your children, make sure to take the time to listen to their thoughts. Give them your full attention and try to understand their perspective. It is only natural for them to feel upset, confused or a variety of other emotions.

Taking the time to hear what they think without criticizing or attempting to correct how they feel can be very helpful. Keep in mind that your children are emotionally vulnerable at this time and allowing them to air out their thoughts can help them cope with the reality that their parents are separating.

Avoid blaming your spouse

The way that you explain the situation to your children is crucial. One of the biggest mistakes many parents make is blaming their spouse for the divorce. This immediately creates an unnecessary divide. You may be upset or feel betrayed, but it is important to remember that your spouse is also either the mother or father of your children. Try to set your own grievances aside for the time being and help cultivate a culture that encourages your children to be close with both of their parents.

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