How can I talk to my kids about divorce?

The way you talk to your kids about an impending divorce can impact them for the rest of their lives. That’s why it’s crucial that parents do so in a kind and loving manner, especially when custody issues will be a factor in the divorce proceedings. Parents Magazine offers a few tips on having this difficult discussion, which will help you ease the emotional burden on your children.

Think about what you want to say

Go into the conversation with a solid idea of what you’ll say. It’s good to focus on some core ideas to reassure your children that they will always be loved. For instance, emphasize that the divorce occurred because of problems between you and your ex. Also mention that despite ending your marriage, both parents will still love their kids the same and that the family unit will always be in place.

Present the news to your whole family

When possible, you and your ex should present the news together. While your relationship with your former spouse may be contentious, affording the news to your children together can soften the blow a bit, especially if you have younger children. Additionally, it’s best to inform your entire family at the same time, which allows you to offer support and answer questions as needed.

Be open to different reactions

Your children may express many different reactions to the news. Some may be angry or sad, while others may experience relief (especially if you and your ex were fighting quite a bit before making the decision to end your marriage). Be prepared for these diverse reactions and refrain from punishing your child for his or her response. Also, be prepared for any questions your kids may have. This is particularly important when it comes to logistical concerns, like moving out of the family home.

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