Divorce and Children – Talking to Your Kids About Divorce

See more divorce related topics

When you are a parent and decide to get divorced, your life suddenly becomes much more difficult. Deciding when and how to talk to your children about the situation can be challenging, so make sure to approach the discussion in a way that will benefit everyone involved.

As an individual and mother or father, you have a tough road ahead of you. You must separate your personal life and finances from your spouse. Instead of being able to walk away completely, however, you must learn how to co-parent. This necessitates talking to your kids about divorce.

If you are interested in moving forward with a divorce, you need to speak with an attorney. At Breeden Law Office, we know about the North Carolina divorce law that applies to your case, and we are here to guide you through this process with compassion. We want to help you achieve a fair resolution to your divorce while minimizing the impact it has on your children. To schedule a consultation of your case, contact us today at (919) 661-4970.

Have a Plan Before You Talk to Your Children

It is best for you and your spouse to have a plan before you talk with your children, though this is not always possible. If you or your spouse have not yet left the home, you should know when the separation is going to begin, and how it is going to work. If you or your spouse will move out, how will the children stay connected to the parent living outside the family home? Have the practicalities of the separation worked out before you tell your children what is going to happen. They will have questions, and it is best if you have at least some of the answers.

Schedule a Time to Tell Your Child About the Divorce

Are you and your spouse considering talking to your kids about divorce? If so, you should speak with your children together, unless you are concerned about the children’s safety around the other parent. In this situation, you need to be deliberate about scheduling a time. If you have multiple children with busy lives, this can be difficult. Try to pick a time on the weekend when everyone will be home.

Scheduling a time also ensures you do not put off the conversation. This is a tough talk to have with your son(s) and/or daughter(s), but there will be no perfect time to tell them. As soon as you and your spouse know you want a divorce, prepare to sit down with your children.

Expect Self-Centered Questions from Young Children

When you are telling young children about divorce, you should expect their concerns to center around themselves. For you, the divorce is a complex legal and emotional process between two adults. For your children, it boils down to how it affects them and their daily lives. You may receive seemingly simple questions like “who will I live with,” or “do I have to move?” These answers to these questions may be obvious to you, yet they will not be to a five-year-old.

In addition to expecting basic questions, anticipate young children not understanding what is happening. For your young children, one discussion will not be enough. Expect to have multiple brief conversations and to answer questions repeatedly.

Ways to Reassure Your Children

Every child is unique in dealing with divorce and separation, yet you can expect there to be some changes in their moods and behavior. If you plan on talking to your kids about divorce, you can expect them to feel a wide range of emotions after your initial discussion. Some children act out and behave inappropriately. You may not be able to stop these negative feelings and behaviors, but you can do your best to help your child through this difficult situation.

There are a few things you can say to ease your children’s distress and help them cope with this change, including:

  • Remind your children that the divorce is not their fault. Children of divorced parents often think they did something wrong. Or they think that if they behaved better, you would not get a divorce. Tell your children that there is nothing they could do that would change your decision.
  • Explain that no one is to blame. You do not want your children to blame themselves for the divorce, and you do not want your children to blame you or their other parent. It is important that you stress that no one is to blame for the situation. Encourage your children to continue their relationships with you and their other parent. There is no need for your children to be loyal to one parent over the other.
  • Explain that the divorce is a way to make things better for everyone. Leading up to a divorce, there has likely been conflict. Your children will be aware of the conflict and that their parents are not always happy, even if you two have attempted to act civil. Reassure your kids that the divorce is the best way for everyone to be happy and to reduce conflict.
  • Remind your children you will listen to them. After your children know about the divorce, they may have a lot or very little to say. It is essential that you pay attention to them, tell them that they can say anything, and that you are there to listen. Be open to all of the ways your children may feel, including being angry. Do not judge them or be dismissive of their feelings.

If your child is not taking the divorce well and is experiencing severe emotions, consider finding them a new outlet. One or all of your children may benefit from seeing a counselor. This can give them a safe place to express themselves and learn healthy coping mechanisms.

You Need Support When Talking to Your Kids About Divorce

When you are going through a divorce and children are involved, the stress can feel insurmountable. Every day you are trying to keep up a normal routine for your children, listen to them, pay attention, and show them they are loved.

While it is essential that you learn the best ways to talk with your children about the divorce, it is also important that you have someone to talk to about what you are going through. None of your children can be your confidante or sounding board. Lean on your friends and family during this time. If you do not have a close and supportive network, consider going to a counselor or joining a local support group for divorced parents. Whether you are a mother or a father, you are going to need other adults’ help during this time.

Do You Have Questions About Talking to Your Kids About Divorce? Contact Us Today

North Carolina divorce lawyer Jonathan Breeden understands the emotional complexities of a divorce involving children. He also knows that talking to your kids about divorce can be a daunting process. He is here to guide you through the divorce process in a way that is best for both you and your kids. He knows that your children are the most important aspect of your life, and he will fight for you and your children to have the safe, happy, and healthy future you deserve.  Jonathan Breeden blends compassionate and aggressive advocacy for people in the communities of Raleigh, Clayton, GarnerSmithfield, and Angier.

To talk with Jonathan about how he can help you, contact Breeden Law Office online or call (919) 661-4970 to schedule a case consultation today.

Call Breeden Law Office today:

Call (919) 661-4970

Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden