How to Talk to Your Child About Divorce

Written by Jonathan Breeden

September 14, 2018

Going through a divorce is not easy on anyone. That lack of ease is quite evident when a child is involved. No matter how amicable your separation may be, there is a strong likelihood that your son or daughter will perceive your familial situation as tense. As such, it can seem difficult to talk to your child about divorce. Explaining the process, however, is important. Whatever the details of your situation may be, a rational understanding of what’s going on is critical to your child’s ability to process the divorce in a well-adjusted manner.

Addressing the emotional well-being of your child is only one item on a long list of issues a divorce creates. A dedicated lawyer will be essential in keeping track of the factors in a divorce proceeding, including your children. If you’re looking for help with your divorce proceedings in North Carolina, contact Breeden Law Office. Call (919) 661-4970, or reach out through our online form, to speak with a divorce lawyer today.

Consider Your Child’s Age

Children of different ages will respond to divorce differently. Younger children who are less developed will have trouble understanding the complexities of divorce. This can lead them to form inaccurate conclusions about what caused the divorce, as well as what the ultimate effects of the situation will be. If your children are younger, it’s important to speak to them in a way that doesn’t assign fault for your divorce. They need to understand that it is a decision that adults sometimes make.

Additionally, young children are dependent on their parents to structure their lives. An important aspect of young children dealing with divorce is an assurance that they’ll still be cared for. Promising them that they’ll see both parents regularly (if that’s true), or that they will still eat and go to bed at the same times, can be comforting to children of a younger age.

Older Children and Divorce

Many older children have the capacity for more mature discussions regarding divorce. It is imperative that when you talk to your child about divorce, the situation should be explained in rational terms. Kids, no matter their age, have a tendency not to be able to see gray areas divorce often brings to a family, so an assignment of blame is only natural. Rather than getting sucked into a feeling of guilt, it’s important to let them deal with their emotions as they need to. It may even be beneficial to address their feelings directly. Make sure to ask whether they feel sad or angry, as it can open the door to a healthier dialogue.

What About Custody?

Custody is often a topic of concern during divorces in which children are involved. While your child needs an explanation as to where he or she will live, there is a fine line between being withdrawn and over-explaining. When talking about custody, your child probably only needs to know the bare essentials, including:

  • When they are getting picked up or dropped off
  • How long they will be staying with each parent

Any more information than strays into bashing your co-parent. This can be one of the most damaging actions to children during or after a divorce. The best way to encourage healthy coping is to present you and your co-parent as a team when it comes to your child or children.

Do You Have Questions About How to Talk to Your Child About Divorce?

Your divorce lawyer is a valuable asset when resolving custody issues, or any other divorce-related matter with which you need assistance. At Breeden Law Office, we understand that a divorce can be overwhelming. You want to make sure, however, that as you deal with this major life change, you and your family will be okay. That’s why attorney Jonathan Breeden can assist and advise you through whatever developments your divorce may bring.

Contact us online, or by calling (919) 661-4970 today.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden