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How do you break divorce news to the kids?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2023 | Child Custody

Have you and your spouse agreed to a divorce? How will you break the news to your kids? 

Eventually, your children will know about the divorce. It’s often best to prepare children for divorce and allow them time to process what will change. Here’s some guidance about how to do that:

It’s important to talk as a family

It may benefit your children to talk to them together with your spouse. Your children still view you and your spouse as their parents and this discussion may show that you are both still there for your children. 

Your children may also better understand the information if everyone hears the news at the same time. In other words, it may only hurt your children if one of them hears about the divorce from their sibling. 

Discuss what will change after the divorce

Your children may not fully grasp what divorce means. You could explain how divorce will affect their lives by talking about what will change and what will stay the same. 

Perhaps you could talk about who your children will live with. Or, you may talk about how visitation will work and when they’ll see each parent. Of course, you’ll likely have to talk with your spouse about what will change after the divorce and what you should share with your children before having the talk.

Be open to your children’s questions

The best way for children to process information is by asking questions, and they’re very likely going to have quite a few about this situation. Tailor your answers to their ages (if your children are drastically different ages, it may help to talk to an older sibling again at a different time) and do your best to be honest, even if the only answer you have is, “We don’t know yet.” 

Some things can’t be answered until a child custody order is made. Until then, you can try creating a non-blaming narrative. This way your children don’t hold resentment or anger toward you or your spouse.