Divorce: When and How to Tell the Children

Children of all ages are confused, anxious, and scared when they learn their parents are getting a divorce. There are some approaches you can use that may lessen the negative impact of what the children almost always view as bad news.

How to Tell Your Children

Both parents need to be present and tell the children together that you are getting a divorce. If possible, a family or child therapist should be involved. The children need to understand that although there will be some changes, you are still “Team Mom and Dad” and will both still be parents to them for the rest of their lives.

Divorce and how to tell children

What you tell the children, and the way you respond to their questions, naturally depends on their ages. You can be more receptive to answering questions from teenagers versus from small children who may not even realize what their questions are.

No matter the ages of the children, they almost always want to know:

  • Where will we live?
  • Will we need to move out of the family home?
  • Who will we live with?
  • Will we need to change schools?
  • What about our friends?
  • Will we still be involved in after-school activities, like music lessons, dance classes, and soccer games?

The more honest you can be with your children, the better the outcome will be. Children crave consistency and stability, which you can still provide for them but in a different way. When children have consistency and stability, the less tendency they may have to misbehave or act out.

What Not to Tell the Children

It is important not to say bad things about the other parent to the children. Do not place blame. Never tell the children it is the other parent’s fault that the two of you are getting a divorce. That means you do not mention affairs or pinpoint any blame or bad things that the other parent may have done.

Your approach may be different if there are any issues of domestic or child abuse. If so, you will need the help of professionals like a child therapist or child specialist to assist you with providing the right amount of information to your children.

For more information about any aspect of your divorce, what options you may have as to how to proceed, and how to tell your children, call or contact us at Martinez Legal, P.C. to schedule a consultation.