The breakup of a marriage is never easy. It can be particularly painful when there are children involved. Young people are resilient and do have a tendency to bounce back fairly quickly from unpleasant events that occur in their lives. At the same time, you as a parent play an important
role in their divorce recovery. When and how you tell your children about your divorce can help to reduce their trauma and can lay the groundwork for a healthier adjustment.
Breaking the News of a Divorce to Your Children
Breaking the news of a divorce to children is one of the hardest tasks for parents. In many cases, children are likely to be at least partly aware of some of the problems you and your spouse are experiencing. Sharing information about what is happening with them in an honest, open, and
age-appropriate manner plays an important role in your family’s recovery.
Parents Magazine advises that there is no perfect way to tell children about divorce, but there are
approaches that can help make the news less shocking and painful. If possible, present a united
front by having both parents present. If this is not an option, avoid blaming your spouse or overly
criticizing his or her behavior. Additional ways to make this conversation easier:
● Pick the right time. Choose a day where there are not other pressing concerns. A Friday
night or weekend afternoon when the family has time to spend together may be best.
● Tell everyone together. It is important for them to hear this news at the same time,
though you will want to follow up with each child individually afterward.
● Make it about them. While you likely have your own pain, grief, and fears about the
situation you are dealing with, remember that your job as a parent is to be supportive and
sympathetic to them and what they are experiencing.
● Rehearse what you will say. Practice what you will say in advance. Leave out details,
such as a spouse’s affair or particular gripes you have. Speak in general ways about the
fact that the marriage is no longer working.
● Provide plenty of reassurance. Remind them that no matter what happens, you love
them and you will all get through this.
How Children Often React to a Divorce
When breaking the news of a divorce to children, it is important to be aware of how they are
likely to react. This will vary depending on their age. Psychology Today provides this general
● Children 5 and under: They may not completely grasp the seriousness of what you are
telling them, but they may get more clingy as the situation unfolds;
● Children 6 through 12: They are more likely to have questions and concerns regarding
who will take care of them and how this will impact practical matters, such as where they
live or go to school.
● Children 12 through 18: They are likely to have the most complex reactions. They may
either erupt in anger or shut down, showing little emotion. Older children are more likely
to confide in their friends. Allow them the time and space needed to process their
Our Middlesex Divorce Attorneys are Here to Help
t the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we understand the impact divorce can have on every area of your life. While you deal with your family and other important personal issues, we attend to practical details, ensuring your legal rights are protected. To discuss your options and
how we can help you, contact our Milltown family law attorneys and request a consultation today.