Guest Post: Talking To Children about Divorce

Initiating the divorce process is difficult, but breaking the news to your children can be even more daunting.  Young children aren’t emotionally capable of understanding the adult reasons behind divorce.  They will often go to great lengths to convince their parents to stay together.  Many children exhibit a pattern of emotional disruptions in the year following their parents’ divorce.  Here are a few tips for broaching the subject of divorce with your children, and helping them cope with the inevitable changes:

1. Be honest yet age appropriate

Children don’t need to know about the gory details of your spouse’s affair or your inability to see eye-to-eye on financial matters.  While most children will inevitably ask you why you’re divorcing their mother/father, it’s up to you to keep the answer simple and diplomatic.  If they ask a point-blank question about infidelity or other hot-button topics, be honest yet brief.  The important thing is to convey the information without burdening them with the details surrounding the divorce.

2. Don’t speak ill of your soon-to-be ex

Your ex will always be their parent.  Nothing should necessitate that your child stop loving one of their parents.  Saying negative things about your former spouse is essentially forcing them to choose a side. This is unfair and potentially damaging.

3. Plan before you break the news

If you’re still on speaking terms with you ex, plan what you will say to your children ahead of time.  Keeping your stories straight is an important.  If your spouse gives one reason for the divorce and you give another, one or both of you will appear to be liars. The same event can look quite different from your spouse’s perspective, so it’s good to be on the same page.

4. Create a sense of security

Make plans concerning visitation, custody and living arrangements early in the divorce process. In this way you can give your children the benefit of knowing where and when they will get to see each of their parents.  This fosters a sense of security.  New routines must be developed, especially for young children.

Also, make sure you listen to your child’s insecurities concerning the divorce. Many children believe that they’re the cause of their parents’ divorce or that they won’t ever see one of their parents again.  Listening is key to alleviating these fears.

5. Know when to seek professional help

Watch for behavioural changes.  Indications of emotional difficulty include the following: acting out, dropping grades, social withdrawal and emotional regression.  Sign up for professional help sooner rather than later. Early intervention can prevent these behavioural changes from becoming lifelong patterns.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She often can be found blogging about education and scholarships for college.  In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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6 Comments

Filed under Children and divorce, Divorce, Post Divorce

6 responses to “Guest Post: Talking To Children about Divorce

  1. Pingback: Guest Post: Talking To Children about Divorce : : TroubledRelationships.org.

  2. Billie

    I would like to emphasis points 2 and 4 in your post about children and divorce. Making sure that the other spouse is respected and not bad-mouthed is a priority in order to maintain the balance within the family. Also, it is important to not only give children a sense of security, but to actually deliver on it and ensure that your children will be well taken care of.

  3. Thank you for this informative blog. Now I know how to start talking to my children about the divorce happened with their mom. Hope with this, they will understand it fully and respect the decision of their parents. Try to visit also my website about divorce @ http://needadivorceonline.com/. This will help you about your questions about divorce matters.

  4. This blog post is very helpful! I must say that I am impressed with the tips that you just shared, especially with number 4. Children of divorcing parents almost always think that they are the cause of the divorce, so it is very important to let them have a strong sense of security, and to let them know that they did not cause the divorce.

    With regards to custody and visitation, I hope you can find the time to read my “California Child Support Payments” article, which you can find by visiting this link: http://californiadivorceforms.org/california-child-support-payments/.

    Again, great post! I just bookmarked this entry on StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg, Reddit, and Google bookmarks.

  5. Jennifer Johansen

    This is wonderful advice and a great post. I see #2 as a challenge for some parents, as there are usually ill feelings towards the other parent when going through a divorce and they might come out in front of the children if they are not careful. Encouraging the child(ren) to continue a relationship with the other parent and try to have a balance as much as possible is really important, even if the other parent is not cooperative.

  6. Divorce is almost always stressful for children. And saying it to them is rather difficult.I am glad that I came across this article.Thanks for this article,many couple will now have an idea how to talk to children about divorce.

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