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How do you tell your children you’re divorcing?

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2024 | Divorce |

Once an Illinois couple decides to divorce, few things will be more difficult than breaking the news to their children. It’s not an easy conversation, and there’s uncertainty about how they will react.

However, it’s a discussion you will need to have, so here are some strategies for telling your children you and your partner are divorcing.

Navigating the tough conversation

It’s crucial to approach the topic of divorce with care, honesty and empathy. The first step is creating a safe and supportive environment by considering the following:

  • Choose a time and place where you and your children can talk without interruptions or distractions.
  • If possible, you and your co-parent should present a united front to show you both share the decision and remain committed to supporting your children.
  • Your children will likely experience various emotions, including confusion, fear, anger and sadness. Be prepared to comfort them and offer reassurance as they express their feelings.

To facilitate constructive and supportive dialogue, be sure to:

  1. Consider each child’s age and maturity level, and use language and concepts they can understand without being overwhelmed.
  2. Be honest about the reasons for the divorce in a way that doesn’t blame or criticize the other parent.
  3. Encourage your children to ask questions, express their feelings and share their concerns. Listen attentively and provide honest answers to the best of your ability.

During and after the conversation, focus on offering reassurance, stability and emotional support to help your children cope with the news of the divorce. Emphasize that your love for them remains unchanged. Maintain daily routines and schedules to provide stability and normalcy during this traumatic time. If your children are struggling to cope, consider the support of a counselor to help them express their feelings.

Having a conversation about divorce with your children is challenging but essential. The most important part is assuring them that the divorce is about your relationship with your partner and that both of you love them unconditionally.