Breaking the news of a divorce to the children

One of the difficult things about parenthood is telling children about bad news. Whether it is the death of a loved one, explaining that you broke a promise or dissecting a major news story, we as parents always want to make sure our children are not harmed by disappointing news. 

Because of this, telling children about a divorce can be just as difficult as the split itself. Indeed, some relationships have deteriorated to a point where the kids may be relieved that the fighting will stop and that the parents are going their separate ways. When this is not the case, the news can surprising and overwhelming.

With that, parents should use care in breaking the news of a divorce to the children. Below are a few pointers.

Let them know that it is not their fault - Regardless of the difficulties in your relationship with your soon-to-be ex, children will believe that the break up is their fault. It is important to reassure them that you (and the other parent) love them very much, and that the divorce is not their fault.

You are still around - It is also important for kids to know that you are not going anywhere after the divorce, and that you are not choosing a different life over them.

Develop a plan - Parents should be on the same page when it comes to telling the children. Whether you believe it is best to tell the kids all at once, or if you think that telling older children before younger ones is most helpful, parents should present a united front.

Source:, How to make telling the kids less stressful, June 11, 2013

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