How to Explain Divorce to a Child

parents talking to kids

Your children are going to be highly impacted by your divorce, and it’s more than just figuring out a child custody plan for them after the split. This is a significant change in their lives. There are a few things you should know about how to explain divorce to a child.

First off, don’t jump the gun. Don’t tell them you’re planning to split up until you’re 100 percent certain and the process is underway. You don’t want to string this along or confuse the kids.

One person said she didn’t even tell her child until a week before her significant other moved out. The actual divorce process may take longer, but this is one way to reduce the worry, stress, and speculation for the kids.

Explain Divorce to a Child Together

It’s also good to tell your children while you’re both together. Don’t race to be the one to do it or do it on your own and risk spinning the “story” in your own favor. Remember that you may want to end your involvement in each other’s lives, but you’ll both still be involved in the children’s lives. They deserve to hear it from both parents.

Finally, don’t blame anyone. Don’t blame yourself or your spouse. Never blame the children; in fact, it’s best to stress repeatedly that it’s not their fault. You may privately blame your spouse, and that’s fine. Again, though, your kids will still be involved with both of you, so you don’t want to make it appear that one person is to blame and the other is not.

Kids will have a lot of questions after you break the news, especially about the child custody plan and where they will live. Be sure you know how this legal process is going to work.

Source: Baby Center, “How to tell your child you’re getting divorced (ages 5 to 8),” Ziba Kashef, accessed April 07, 2017

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