Kids And Divorce – How To Talk To Them

Talking to your kids about divorce is never easy but it is important that you do not avoid the subject. Even though you might be scared of having the conversation or worried that your own emotions might take over, it is important to tell your kids what is happening. Some parents find it helpful to work out an outline of what you want to talk about. Think about what your children are most likely to fear, what they do need to hear and what they do not need to hear.

More than likely, your kids are going to be worried about the same things that worried you when you were little. They might not seem as worrisome as an adult, but to a kid they are huge problems.

Some of the things that worry your kids could be:

o Where they will live most of the time

o When they will eat

o Where pets will live

o What happens during school breaks and on holidays

o Will they be able to keep their current set of friends

o Will they still be able to do their activities (sports, clubs, etc)

It is important to talk with your spouse before talking to your kids. Your kids will need to hear the same information from both of you. If each parent has a different answer to the same question, your kids are going to be confused (and likely angry).

Sometimes it helps to make sure that your kids get the same information many times. The repetition reinforces what you are trying to get them to understand. Remember that kids process information using actions as well as words. So it is important to show your kids how safe they will continue to be, how loved they will always be, that nothing about the divorce is your kids’ fault, etc. Saying these things as often as you can helps, but showing them with extra attention and patience is also necessary. Make sure to listen to and address any concerns or fears expressed by your kids.

Make sure that your kids have at least one reliable parent that they can trust. This is especially important if the other parent is absent. Focus on what you can and cannot change and make sure that your kids know that the missing parent’s absence in not their fault.

Do everything you can to keep your kids out of any direct involvement in parental conflicts.

Your children do not need to hear or see any of the following:

o Discussions about a parent’s emotional needs not being met

o Evidence of infidelity

o Marital details

o Negative words or actions from one parent to the other

Make sure that your kids know that they will always be loved and taken care of and that that’s all they need to know.

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