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Trying to Break the News of Your Divorce to the Kids? The Best Tips for Tackling this Issue

For parents who decide to get divorced, there’s no easy way of breaking the news to children in the family. From small kids to teenagers, the decision will likely cause various degrees of pain for the child. Although it may be a challenging topic to bring up, there are a few ways to ease the discomfort, and continue to maintain the relationships that are intact. Whether you are trying to decide how to break the news of your divorce to your young kids, or your adult children, let the pointers below help you figure out where to start:

Trying to Break the News of Your Divorce to the Kids - The Best Tips for Tackling this Issue

Encourage an Open Discussion

When informing your children that the marriage is ending, it’s important to encourage each person to freely express their feelings and opinions. Children should feel safe to feel angry, let out their frustration, and become inconsolable if that’s what they choose. Allow each person to have their input, even if it means needing space as a way to cope. According to Singleparents.about.com, the kids should have time to ask questions and process the information. While the open discussion might not come right away, keep the door of communication open so that your child can come to you when they are ready to talk about it.

Remain Honest

Keep the news of divorce simple by avoiding complicating the discussion with extra details that are often unnecessary. Children do not need to be involved in the facts of the unhealthy relationship that has developed. According to BabyCenter.com, it’s important to explain it in terms that the child can understand based on their age in a clear format. While you might be tempted to blame your partner, and reveal the root of your issues, try to take an unbiased approach when delivering the news. No matter how old your children are, let them form their own opinions about the situation rather than swaying their opinion based on your emotions.

Find Help

When you announce the divorce, t’s crucial to find a support system for your child as they begin to grieve. A family law attorney suggests that you look for resources outside of the home with a child therapist or counselor. Religious leaders whom the child can trust are also a great resource, which will allow them to confide in an adult outside of the home. A child might feel like they need to pick sides in the divorce, but having a neutral third party there for support will make it so the child doesn’t feel caught in the middle. 

Choose the Timing

Although it may seem impossible to find the right timing to discuss divorce with your children, it’s important to avoid telling them when they’re leaving for school or soccer practice. Instead, choose an evening that isn’t busy for the family with the weekend ahead. This will allow them to process the emotions at home before it’s time to return to school. However, keep in mind that it is best to tell your children before informing anyone else.

For any parent, it can feel impossible to bring up the news of divorce to a child. The discussion can bring a fair amount of pain to both the children and parents. To allow the conversation to run smoothly and help each kid feel safe, it’s important to have a strategy established for healthy communication. By making enough effort, it will allow the child to heal and transition into the next stage of life.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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