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.


  1. Never tell the children without the other parent.
  2. Answer all of their questions.
  3. Keep calm no matter how they react. They'll be angry and upset.
  4. 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.
  5. Always remain calm. This cannot be stressed enough.
  6. Explain to them why you're getting divorced. Don't go into too much detail or start placing blame on the other parent.
  7. 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.)
  8. Talk to them about plans on how they'll see the parent that won't be living with them full-time.
  9. Suggest seeing a counselor.
  10. Both parents should remind the children that you love them even though you're getting a divorce.
  11. Let them know that the reason for the divorce has nothing to do with them. They are not the problem.
  12. 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.
  13. Tell them that even if we are not all together in the same house all the time we will still be together often!!!
  14. Keep repeating that you love them and nothing that happens between Mom and Dad will change that.
  15. 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."
  16. Ask the children about how they feel about Mom and Dad getting separated or divorced before you get divorced.
  17. Encourage them not to do anything rash in their lives, for example like "running away."
  18. 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

Sources and Citations