How should parents talk about divorce to their children?

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce may not be a parent’s first option when facing marital issues, but it often is the best decision for the well-being of their children. 

One of the hardest parts of a divorce is talking about it to children. Here’s what parents may need to consider when discussing their divorce: 

Plan a time to talk as a family

It may benefit children if a discussion about their parent’s divorce is done with the entire family. This may mean talking about the divorce before anyone else inside or outside the family is aware. It could greatly upset children if they hear about their parent’s divorce through someone else. 

Parents may want to be aware of when their children learn about the divorce. If parents break the news just before their children go to school, there might not be enough time for their children to process the information. A talk about divorce could be done during the weekend and when the entire family is together, such as at breakfast or dinner.

Be honest about why the divorce is happening

Children often ask questions when processing new information. Parents may consider being honest if they are asked why the divorce is happening. Children don’t need to know every little detail, however. If a divorce is happening because of gambling or substance abuse, for example, then parents may consider saying it was caused by financial difficulties. 

Talk about what will happen in the future

Explaining why a divorce is happening may not be enough to help children process the news. Parents may need to talk about what will happen after the divorce. For example, if parents need to sell the house in a divorce, then their children may need to know that they’ll be getting a new room. Or, if parents need to move after the divorce, then they may need to let their children know that they’ll be changing schools.

Divorce is a complicated process of untangling two lives. How assets are divided and deciding each parent’s rights over their children may need help from someone who understands the law.