How To Talk To Your Children About Divorce

Divorce can be a traumatic experience for a child. While the parents in a divorce are often involved in a bitter and prolonged dispute, the children are often caught in the crossfire. In a divorce, there are very rarely winners when it comes to the children. How you talk to your children about divorce can greatly affect how they are impacted by the divorce.

Talking to your children about divorce is something that you must do in order for your child or children to accept the drastic change that is going to occur in their lives. It is possible for a child or children to come through a divorce well-adjusted and relatively unharmed, depending on how the parents handle the divorce.

Here are some important things to consider when talking to your children about divorce:

First, you should emphasize to the child or children that the divorce is not their fault. Young children especially can feel responsible for a divorce, and can have their self-esteem seriously damaged. You must help your child to understand that it is you and your spouse that are getting a divorce, not the child and his parents. You also need to be honest and say that it is not up to your child to reconcile you and your spouse.

Next, you should take care not to blame your spouse for the divorce. Regardless of your feelings on the matter, you cannot force your child into a situation where she feels that she has to pick sides between the good parent and the bad parent.

When you talk with your child about the divorce, you should make sure that you are up front about the practical applications, and about how the way your family works will be changing. If he is used to having mommy take him to school, but will now be taken by dad, say so. If one parent will not be living in the same area as the child, explain that visits may be few and far between.

Be sure to listen to your child’s concerns. Try to answer any questions that they have. If they ask you “why?”, try to remember that they aren’t necessarily interested in the differences you are having with your spouse, but they are asking why they have to go through this. Try to answer your child’s statements and questions gently and openly, so that they will feel comfortable coming to you later on when other questions arise.


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