How should you break the news of divorce to your child?

On Behalf of | May 2, 2023 | Family Law |

So, your marriage is headed toward divorce. Although that can be an overwhelming and stressful thought, you should take comfort in knowing that you can find a way to reach the future that you deserve post-divorce.

That isn’t to say that the matter is going to be easy to navigate. After all, you’re going to have to confront complex legal issues that can shape what your future looks like, including those pertaining to property division, spousal support and child custody.

But before you get to that point, you might be worried about breaking the news of divorce to your child. This is understandable given their fragility and their lack of knowledge about your marital problems and what divorce entails.

You might be worried that learning about your pending divorce will upend your child’s life, disrupting everything they thought they knew about life. This is understandable, and it’s a fear that most divorcing parents face.

Tips for telling your child about your divorce

While there’s a good chance that the news is going to hit your child hard, there are things that you can do to make the process a little bit easier for them and for you. Let’s look at some of them:

  • Have a plan: You don’t want to drop the news of your divorce on your child out of nowhere, without knowing how you’re going to tell them. By taking time to prepare what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it, you can dampen the impact on your child and ensure that you retain control over the situation as much as possible.
  • Be honest: Your child is going to have a lot of questions about the divorce and what life post-divorce will look like. Be honest with your child so that they can better understand what’s happening. You don’t have to share intimate details of your marital problems, of course, but you can give your child enough information to help them put the events that are affecting them in context.
  • Don’t place blame: Even if you’ve been deeply hurt by your spouse, you shouldn’t attack them when you’re talking about the divorce with your child. This will just upset your family dynamics even further, which can be harmful to your child’s emotional and psychological well-being. It can also disrupt your ability to build a positive co-parenting relationship once your divorce is finalized.
  • Talk about what will and won’t change: Children thrive on stability and routine. Your child probably isn’t any different. Therefore, you might find it helpful to talk to your child about what won’t change even after the divorce is finalized. By talking about what will change, you can start to formulate a new routine with your child so that they feel somewhat comforted and like they have some control over the future despite being in a time of chaos.
  • Be supportive: Remind your child that they’re not to blame for your divorce, and that you and their other parent love them. Encourage your child to ask questions and talk about how they’re feeling so that you can be there to support them. And don’t get upset if they ask pointed questions. They’re simply trying to understand what’s happening to the life they once knew.

Be prepared to move into the next stage of your life

There’s a lot to deal with when you go through divorce. Even though it can be stressful and overwhelming, you can ease the burden by being as prepared as possible. You can start preparing as soon as you think that your marriage is failing.