How Do You Tell Kids About Divorce?


Quick Answer

A discussion with children about a pending divorce should be tailored to a child's temperament, maturity and age; however, the primary goal of the discussion should be to reassure the children that the divorce is not their fault, according to KidsHealth from Nemours. Parents should avoid exhibiting anger or bitterness.

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When telling children about a divorce, parents should choose an environment that is calm, peaceful and comfortable for the children, such as the family home, according to psychiatrist Kevin D. Arnold via Psychology Today. Parents should also tell all children together to encourage a team of support versus telling each child individually.

Once parents break the news that they are filing for divorce, it is imperative to allow the children to express their feelings, which may range from anger and hurt to blame and relief, according to Arnold. It is likely children will have questions about the future, such as where they will live, when they will see each parent, whether or not siblings will stay together and the need to move or change schools. Therefore, parents should attempt to answer all questions together, honestly and with compassion, recognizing that the uncertainty of divorce is often painful for children, Arnold advises.

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