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Is there a right way to tell kids you’re getting a divorce?

After months of trying to make the marriage work, you and your child’s parent have decided that this is the end. Now the time has come to tell your kid about the life change, something that you are dreading. You may not know when the time is right to tell them or even what you should say. They’re old enough to see that the marriage has been in trouble for a while, but they may not understand the long-term implications. Each parent approaches the conversation differently, but having an idea in mind of what to say can prevent you from being caught off guard.

Here are three tips for telling your child that you and your spouse are getting a divorce.

Be on the same page with the other parent

When it comes to discussing the divorce with your kid, communication is key. You should stray away from sending them mixed messages about the details as this can add to the confusion. So what details should you share? Should you tell your child together? These are just some of the topics you can discuss when forming a united front with your ex.

Be open to answering questions

Kids are naturally inquisitive. As time goes on, they tend to have more questions. Validate their emotions and be open to providing insight on the life change. They may ask questions regarding the reasons behind the divorce, the living situations and the new partners that may enter your lives. Be prepared to answer such queries ahead of time.

Don’t bad-mouth your ex-spouse

It can be difficult for some divorcees to keep their negative thoughts about their ex to themselves. However, criticizing your ex-partner to your children can make them feel like they need to pick sides. Try to stay positive about the situation and let them know that the divorce won’t change the way each of you feels about them.

Divorce impacts the entire family and breaking the news to kids can be a tumultuous experience. But, once you open the door to conversation, you can begin to transition into your new life and help each member of the family to adjust to the new family dynamics.

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