Tips for talking to kids about divorce

| Nov 28, 2017 | divorce, Firm News

You may relate to many parents who say raising children in Kentucky is often a rewarding experience. You may also understand those who say it has been their greatest challenge. Perhaps your personal experience lies somewhere in between, with many good days and happy memories as well as times you’d rather forget. Parenting is a journey, to be sure. There are several types of situations, such as divorce, that can cause stress in your relationship with your children.

You likely already know that your divorce will greatly impact your children’s lives. That does not necessarily mean their lives will be ruined, however. A key factor in helping them cope and move forward to a new lifestyle is keeping the lines of communication open and letting them know your marital split is not their fault.

Things to keep in mind when discussing divorce with your kids

No two families are exactly the same, and even within your own family, one child’s needs may be quite different from another. The trick is to let each child know you are there for support and will help overcome any obstacles that arise. The following ideas may help you achieve such goals:

  • Differentiate between children and adults: Although it might be tempting to lean on your kids for support as you struggle to deal with your own emotions as you navigate the divorce process, it may not be the best idea. Adult matters are best left between adults. As a conscientious parent who has your children’s best interests at heart, you would not want to burden them with information they are too young to handle. 
  • Remind them that parents do not divorce their kids: When children witness parents ending relationships with each other when they don’t agree, they sometimes fear the same thing will happen to them. Assuring your children you will always be connected and reminding them that spouses get divorced but parents do not divorce their children may help keep their anxiety to a minimum. 
  • One size does not necessarily fit all: It may sound a lot simpler to sit all your kids down at once and break the news about your divorce. However, if your children vary in age by a number of years, you may want to speak to them individually. What you wish to discuss with a teenager will likely be quite different from information you share with those under age 10.

There is no right or wrong way to help your children cope with your divorce. You are their parent, and you know what’s best for them. There is also no harm in reaching out for support as you do your best to get life back on track and help your children process the changes in their lives.

Many Kentucky parents turn to their ministers or licensed counselors for guidance leading up to or following divorce. If any legal issues arise, an experienced family law attorney can be a great asset as well.