Tips to Explain Divorce to Your Children

Going through a divorce is never an easy time for a couple. It becomes that much more emotionally draining, however, when kids are in the equation. They may not be completely aware of all the issues their parents are going through, but they are probably aware of the fact that there is something going on.

They will be having to face new changes in their life, and at such a young age, having to adapt to drastic, new adjustments can definitely be a challenge. It’s important to explain what’s going on to them in a loving way in which they can understand (based on their age and maturity). Keep reading for Marriage Couples Counseling NYC’s tips to explain divorce to your children.

Always tell the truth, but don’t overshare

When first explaining your divorce to your kids, don’t lie to them (“Daddy will be working more,” “Mommy is going on a trip.”) This will just confuse them more when there are big changes starting to be made. They need to trust you. Tell them simple facts, such as their parents will not be living together anymore, but that you will still remain a family and they have nothing to worry about.

A good example comes from the scene in the Movie Kramer vs. Kramer. Kramer (Dustin Hoffman’s character) explains to his 6-year-old son the reason his mother left. He tells him that Mommy and Daddy disagreed on a lot of stuff, and they decided it would be better to live apart. However, the one thing they will always agree on is how much they love him.

Lying or holding back will do nothing but diminish the trust your children have in you. During this tough time, your kids are going to rely on your honesty now more than they ever have. They need reassurance to know that everything is going to be okay with their family. Depending on their age and maturity, tell each child what he or she can understand.

Never point fingers

No matter what, make sure that you and your spouse do not cast any blame or point fingers, whether at each other or your children. You want to stay as objective as possible in front of your children to make the process as smooth as possible, and so they also don’t feel conflicted to choose sides. It’s crucial to assure your children that the divorce has nothing to do with them, nor is it their fault.

Choose your words carefully, and make sure not to overshare information. No matter the reason for the divorce – whether it’s infidelity, irreconcilable differences, financial pressures, etc. – avoid telling your children such details. This period of time will stay with them the rest of their lives. You don’t want them to ever feel like either of you put pressure on them to feel a certain way, or for them to feel traumatized in any way at all when they are grown.

Emphasize how much they are loved

Through everything, make sure to emphasize to your children how much they are truly loved, even though their family will not live in the same house anymore. Constant reassurance and care will make this time so much easier for them and their mental health. If they feel like a certain parent is turning away from them, they may feel spiteful in the future.

Emphasizing to your children how much they are loved and will continue to be throughout the divorce will only make them feel better, happier and reassured in the long run. You will probably explain your divorce to your kids multiple times, so the more you can remind them that they are not at fault and that they are supported and loved no matter what.

Seeking an experienced family counselor

If you and your partner are divorcing and are struggling with finding a way to tell your children, don’t wait to seek help. Your family deserves a counselor who can guide you through this tough time, as well as give you advice with helping make the process of divorce easier for your children. Give Marriage Couples Counseling in New York City a call at 212-673-4618 for an in-depth phone consultation today.

This entry was posted in Couples Counseling, Couples Therapy, Marital Problems, Marriage Counseling. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • NAP Details:

    Marriage Couples Counseling & Life Coaching
    160 Bleecker Street, 9C East, New York, NY 10012
    (212) 673 4618