How to Talk to Your Children About Divorce

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It can be challenging and emotionally taxing to discuss divorce with your children, particularly as you prepare to have this important discussion. However, it’s crucial to handle it delicately and with regard to the child’s age. Here are some basic pointers on how to discuss divorce with your children:

  1. Plan a family meeting: It is ideal if both parents work together to plan a family gathering so that they can speak with the kids at the same time. It is best to hold the meeting on a Friday evening or Saturday morning so that the kids can mentally process this challenging circumstance and comprehend the family’s action plan before heading back to school on Monday. Please be advised that this conference should only be the first of many, and that this procedure should be carried out repeatedly throughout the divorce.
  2. Be truthful: Children can usually tell when something is off, so it’s essential to be open and honest about what’s going on. Avoid using blame-related terminology and speak in plain, kid-friendly terms.
  3. The more assured (and sensitive) you appear to be about it, the more assured they will be that everything will be okay and that the decision is the right one for the family despite the significant impact to all parties. Don’t be surprised if they already knew it was coming. Also, keep in mind that they are looking to you to determine how they should feel about the situation. This stage is frequently very challenging, particularly if one parent desires the divorce but the other does not.
  4. Instill confidence in your kids by assuring them that the divorce was not their mistake and that they are adored. Again, be sure to make it clear that your choice to split has nothing to do with them or any arguments you may have had about them. Otherwise, they may blame themselves and recall an argument you both had about them. Inform them that you and your partner can no longer make each other content. Ensure them that both of their parents will remain active in their lives and that you both will make an effort to preserve their lives as much as you can. Over time, reassure them repeatedly, and try your best to live up to your words. This stage is frequently very challenging, particularly if one parent desires the divorce but the other does not.
  5. Observe them: Let your kids share their thoughts and emotions about the divorce. Remind them that it’s acceptable to feel sad, furious, or perplexed by validating their feelings. Remind them that whatever they are experiencing is acceptable. This is not a one-off discussion. To process their emotions throughout and after the divorce process, you should regularly check in with your kids.
  6. While it’s essential to be honest with your kids, you should also try to limit the amount of adult knowledge you divulge to them because it might be offensive or overwhelming to them. In the event that your kids are still in your custody, it is not acceptable to tell them if one of you had an affair. When your kids are in their 20s and the family has reached a state of harmony, you can talk about this.
  7. Maintain routines: Do your best to keep your kids’ daily schedules, including those for school and recreational activities, as consistent as you can. During this challenging period, those old habits aid in fostering a sense of security and normality. As long as you two can behave like responsible adults, you should both continue to attend their key events and make sure they continue to hang out with their peers.
  8. Have frequent check-ins: As I mentioned in the first stage and the ones that came after, continue to speak to, listen to, and process with your children during the entire divorce process.
  9. Consult an expert if necessary: Consider contacting a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, or mental health counselor, who specializes in working with children and families going through divorce, if you are having trouble talking to your kids about divorce or if they are having trouble coping. Please make sure you choose a professional carefully before allowing them to deal with your family. Choosing an experienced person is essential.

Keep in mind that each kid is unique and may respond to the news of the divorce in a different manner. You can assist your kid in navigating this challenging time and adjusting to the changes that lie ahead by addressing the discussion with tact, honesty, and non-defensiveness.

We at D’Arienzo Psychology can assist you and your family along your separation or divorce journey. Contact us at 904-379-8094 or for more information. We offer the following family divorce services:

  1. Parenting Coordination and Divorce Coaching with Ms. Cynthia Salameh, Esq. 
  2. Social Investigations and Social Investigation Reviews
  3. Parental Fitness Evaluations and Court Ordered Psychological Evaluations
  4. Parental Alienation Evaluations
  5. Substance Abuse Evaluations
  6. Family Reunification Therapy
  7. Individual Counseling, Therapy, and Coaching for Divorce.
  8. Child Divorce Therapy
  9. Life Coaching
  10. Florida Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course
  11. Georgia Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course
  12. Texas Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course
  13. High Conflict Co-Parenting Course
  14. Anger Management Course 4 Hours
  15. Anger Management Course 8 Hours