How to talk to your kids about divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2021 | Child Custody

When Texas spouses decide to end their marriage, nothing is more painful than telling their children they are getting a divorce. While it won’t be easy, kids should hear the news from both parents at the same time.

How your children respond will likely depend upon their age and what you choose to share. Younger kids will need reassurance that the breakup is not their fault, while high schoolers will want more details about the divorce and how it will impact their lives.

Keep it simple and skip the messy details

Present a united front with your spouse and avoid blaming each other, as it can force kids to take sides. Instead, keep the messaging uncomplicated and focus on the future, such as:

  • Mom and dad will be happier living apart
  • The divorce has nothing to do with them
  • We will live in separate homes where they will be loved
  • While they may be in two households, they are still one family
  • Both parents will remain actively and positively involved in their lives

Address spoken and unspoken concerns

Your children will want to know what caused the divorce and know that they’ll continue to live in a safe and peaceful environment. Some of the questions they may ask or are thinking of include:

  • Was the divorce my fault?
  • Can we do anything to keep you together?
  • If you don’t live with me, will you still love me?
  • Do I have to move or change schools?
  • Will we have enough money to live?

While it may not be a good idea to share specific details that led to the divorce, be honest and provide clarity and reassurance that they’ll be safe and loved. Also, you may want to explain what will happen next. Your attorney will help you understand all the steps that are needed and you, in turn, can convey this information to your kids in language they can understand.

Parents should be prepared and on the same page

Having these answers ready as early as possible can help minimize harm and help your children recover faster from divorce. Part of that preparation can be achieved by creating a detailed parenting plan with the help of your lawyer. That way, children know where they’ll spend birthdays, holidays, vacations and school breaks. It can also ease the uncertainty for parents by establishing a system for making vital decisions for their children for health care, education, religion and other issues.