Divorce: How to Break It to Your Children

Divorce rates are at an all-time high in California with numbers rising in Los Angeles and Orange County.  Where there are more marriages going through divorces, there are more children brought onto the emotional rollercoaster. Our best advice for parents in this situation is to have the children always understand they are unconditionally loved and they are not the reason for the divorce. It is not an easy task when it comes to announcing your failing marriage to your children.  Therefore, it is essential that you and your spouse are explaining together about the decision to divorce.

There can be negative psychological consequences if you tell your children about your divorce wrongly.  It is in your best interest that you consult with your children along with your spouse in a sensitive manner.  Having your spouse by your side when telling your children about the divorce helps show the amicable relationship you both share.  Keep in mind that when telling your children, you should never blame your spouse for the divorce.  The decision should be understood as a joint decision for the children in order for them to recognize that the divorce is not their fault.  Instead, they should understand that mom and dad agree that that separation makes for better versions of themselves.

When telling your children about your divorce, there are a few precautions to take before your announcement.  Seek advice from a family or child therapist along with your spouse to figure out the best approach to break the bad news.  By scripting your announcement with your spouse, both you and your spouse will have a chance to explain what will happen during the divorce.  Pick a time and place that is intimate and safe for the children to digest the information. When you and your spouse feel ready to talk to your children, always focus on the positives of the divorce.  Let it be known to your children that mom and dad still have the same unconditional love for them and the home activities will remain very similar.  Your children may see the divorce as a huge change, so you should be prepared to see tears and answer questions.  Eventually, your children will grow to understand you and your spouse’s decision. By then, you can incorporate family dinners with children and your ex-spouse at a new place.  But remember that your children always come first.