When to Tell the Kids About Your Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

children, divorce, Geneva divorce attorneyWhether they always make it clear or not, children are remarkably observant. If your marriage is falling apart, your children may even realize that something is wrong before you do. This reality, however, does not make it any easier to tell them that you and their other parent are getting divorced. Choosing when to have the conversation, obviously, is an important consideration, as you do not want to break the news for the first time while one of you is literally walking out the door. There are few things to keep in mind as you figure out the best time to talk to your children.

No Turning Back

Your children rely on you and your spouse for stability. This, of course, is part of what makes many divorcing parents feel like they have failed. Divorce is not an acknowledgment of failure; rather, it can be the doorway to happier and healthier situation for everyone involved. However, it should not be taken lightly. Do not tell your children that you are separating or divorcing unless it is actually going to happen. Children are resilient, but most will not deal well with a “we told you we were getting divorced, but we changed our minds” approach. If you have decided to separate but have not made a decision on divorce yet, tell your children that. Explain that you are not sure what will happen, but that their current reality is changing.

“I Don’t Know” Is Allowed

You know your children better than anyone, so you are in the best position to judge when they are ready to know about your divorce. It is important, though, to avoid waiting until you feel like you have all the answers; you never will. Saying that you are not sure how certain things will play out is perfectly reasonable. In fact, acknowledging that you do not have an answer for a particular question is far better than making something up that is not true or realistic. As your children get older, they are likely to recognize and appreciate your honesty in the face of difficult circumstances.

“What I Do Know Is…”

With all of the uncertainty that surrounds divorce, make sure that your children are aware that some things are for sure. Remind them that you and your spouse will still love them no matter what, and that they are not to blame for the divorce. Assure them that they are not losing a parent; they will now have two homes. Be very clear that they are permitted to react however they need to, and that feelings of anger and betrayal are natural and are acceptable—destructive and harmful actions notwithstanding. Finally, let your children know that you will continue to communicate and to provide information about the divorce, and that they can come to you when they have questions.

Professional Insight

While the majority of people will only ever experience, at most, one divorce in their lifetime, the skilled Geneva divorce attorneys at our firm have helped hundreds of families through the process. Thus, we are equipped to provide the guidance you need when it comes to discussing such a sensitive matter with your children. Call 630-232-9700 to schedule a confidential consultation today at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates.



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