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Telling Your Kids You're Divorcing

Divorce is a challenging and emotional process, especially when children are involved. As a divorce coach specialising in supporting women, particularly mothers, I understand the importance of approaching this delicate conversation with care and sensitivity. In this blog post, I will guide you through some essential steps to help you have this conversation feeling empowered and in as much control as possible.


1. Prepare Yourself Emotionally

Before having this conversation with your children, it's crucial to take some time to process your own emotions. Divorce can be overwhelming, but it's essential to approach the conversation with a calm and composed mindset. Seek support from friends, family, or a coach to help you manage your emotions effectively.


2. Choose the Right Time and Place

Selecting an appropriate time and place to have this conversation is important. Find a quiet and comfortable space where your children feel safe and secure. Maybe you want to do it somewhere neutral like a garden space or your living room as opposed to one of your children’s bedrooms. Have a think about how you want to position yourself, do you want to be close together, all sat on a sofa together for instance? Avoid discussing the topic during a busy or stressful time, such as before school or bedtime. Ensure you have enough time for an open and honest conversation without interruptions.


3. Present a United Front

If possible, tell your children together. Presenting a united front demonstrates to your children that you are still a team, even though you will no longer be together as a couple. This approach can help alleviate some of their fears and concerns.


4. Keep It Simple and Age-Appropriate

When explaining the situation to your children, it's important to keep the conversation simple and age-appropriate. Younger children may not fully understand the concept of divorce, so use language they can comprehend. For instance if your children are younger perhaps something like, “Mummy and Daddy have decided that they want to be friends instead of being married and so we are going to live separately” might be easier for them to comprehend as opposed to “Mummy and Daddy have decided to get a divorce”. Older children may require more detailed explanations, but avoid sharing unnecessary adult details that could burden them.


5. Emphasise It's Not Their Fault

Children often blame themselves for their parents' divorce and assume that it’s a result of something they have done. They can take on the role of trying to keep everyone happy and lose themselves in the process, so make sure you reassure them that the decision to separate has nothing to do with them. Explain that adults sometimes have difficulties in their relationships, and it's not their responsibility to fix or change the situation.


6. Validate Their Feelings

Allow your children to express their emotions and validate their feelings. Encourage them to share their thoughts, fears, and concerns openly. Assure them that it's normal to feel sad, angry, or confused during this time. Reassure them that you are there to support and love them unconditionally and that you will answer any questions they have as best you can.


7. Maintain Routine and Stability

Divorce can disrupt a child's sense of stability and security. Emphasise that although some things may change, their daily routines and activities will remain consistent. Reassure them that both parents will continue to be involved in their lives and that they will still have a loving and supportive family.


8. Have a Plan

If possible agree a short term plan with your ex partner of how you will manage the early stages of your separation. Will you use a nesting model where the children stay in the family home and parents come and go depending on who has time with them? Or will one of you be living elsewhere and therefore the children will move between homes? Being able to be clear with your children on what the next few months will look like will be very reassuring for them. If you can, you want to avoid being in a position were you aren’t able to answer questions like where they will live as this can create anxiety and panic for children.


9. Be Patient and Reassuring

Remember that the impact of divorce on children varies, they may need time to process their emotions. Be patient and understanding as they adjust to the changes. Continuously reassure them of your love and commitment to their well-being.


10. Maintain Open Communication

Encourage open communication with your children throughout the divorce process. Let them know they can always come to you with their questions, concerns, or worries. Regularly check in with them to ensure they feel supported and loved. Even if you would rather avoid conversations as you feel it might be upsetting, lead by example and remember that overcoming difficulties is a valuable way to build resilience.


Telling your children about your divorce is undoubtedly a challenging task, but by following these steps, you can approach the conversation with empathy and understanding. Remember, seeking professional guidance and support is always beneficial during this time. Together, you can navigate this transition and create a loving and supportive environment for your children to thrive in.


If you need further assistance or guidance, feel free to reach out. I'm here to support you every step of the way.

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