Tell Your Kids You're Getting a Divorce
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Divorce is difficult for any child at any age to deal with. There are many ways to go about telling your children you're getting a divorce, but not all of them are effective.
- Never tell the children without the other parent.
- Answer all of their questions.
- Keep calm no matter how they react. They'll be angry and upset.
- If they leave the room after yelling or crying, give them a few minutes for a breather then BOTH parents go to the room they're in and talk to them.
- Always remain calm. This cannot be stressed enough.
- Explain to them why you're getting divorced. Don't go into too much detail or start placing blame on the other parent.
- Tell them as much as you know about how their lives will change (where they will live, where they will go to school, where the dog will be, etc.)
- Talk to them about plans on how they'll see the parent that won't be living with them full-time.
- Suggest seeing a counselor.
- Both parents should remind the children that you love them even though you're getting a divorce.
- Let them know that the reason for the divorce has nothing to do with them. They are not the problem.
- Tell your children's teachers, counselors, baby-sitters and other caregivers, the parents of their close friends, and any other adults they see regularly about your divorce plans. Your heads-up will help them to understand that any significant changes in your children's behavior may be traced to your divorce. Ask these adults to keep you informed of any such changes.
- Tell them that even if we are not all together in the same house all the time we will still be together often!!!
- Keep repeating that you love them and nothing that happens between Mom and Dad will change that.
- Gently say things like - its ok to cry but you must talk to us about how you are feeling inside - what you are thinking about."
- Ask the children about how they feel about Mom and Dad getting separated or divorced before you get divorced.
- Encourage them not to do anything rash in their lives, for example like "running away."
- Avoid using phrases that include the words fault or blame etc.
- Remain calm. Do not yell back. Let them speak. Again you should reassure them. Tell them there's good and bad in everything but don't portray the divorce as a good thing or something that's worth it.
- Before telling the child(ren) about the divorce, discuss together how both parents will have time with the child(ren) after the divorce.
- Never yell back. It won't help at all.
- If your child is under 8 and won't completely understand, tell them anyway.
- Always include your child(ren) in the divorce. They have every right to know why you're getting divorced and to have their questions answered.
- Never tell children that the divorce may not be final to avoid giving children false hopes that the parents will reunite.
Related Tips and Steps
- How to Survive a Divorce
- How to Rebuild the Relationship with Your Dad After a Divorce
- How to Deal With Your Parents' Divorce
- How to Convince Your Parents Not to Get a Divorce