How to Explain Divorce to Kids
As a caring family lawyer, I can help see you through divorce and many of the aspects of this difficult process.
In this article, I’ll share more tips on how you can talk to your kids about divorce. Knowing how to explain it to children, and answer their questions, can help you hold your family together even in the face of separation.
Don’t underestimate your children
Divorce is one of those “adult” things that you might think are completely incomprehensible to children. But the truth is, nowadays, kids tend to be rather familiar with the concept.
On a very basic level, children who have been going to school – and encountered classmates whose parents are divorced – may already know that “divorce” means one’s mommy and daddy will no longer be living together. They might be not as interested in what “divorce” means regarding separation of assets, but what it really means for them.
You don’t need to let them know every detail
Some children may press you with questions on why you are divorcing. Be truthful, but you don’t tell them every detail. For example, if you were breaking up due to incompatibility or infidelity, you could simply say, “Sometimes, adults become unhappy living together and decide things may be best for everyone to do things differently.”
“There is someone else that I/he/she will be happier living with” is a rather awful way to put it. Even worse: “Your father/mother does not love me anymore and loves someone else.” Saying this could imply that a parent might also stop loving a child, not to mention have an effect on how a judge perceives your child custody case (if it comes to that).
Neither should you say one parent’s actions or behavior is the reason for the divorce. Kids who see themselves as a reflection of their parents could feel they should share the blame too – not to mention choose between parents.
Don’t put all the responsibility for explaining on you
As with other aspects of divorce, you might feel the whole world is on your shoulders, but it isn’t.
Do you have a relative or family friend your children are particularly close to? Do you have a trusting relationship with their babysitter or nanny?
You could ask these people to help address other questions or concerns from your kids. Their attitude and reassurances about it could also comfort your children as they process the changes in your family life. I have even had a judge instruct parties to tell the children together. This may not always be possible, but if it is it could help prevent a miscommunication and keep you and your soon-to-be ex on the same page of what the children are told.
If you have any more questions or reservations about how to talk to your children, feel free to discuss it with a caring and compassionate divorce lawyer with Kurtz & Blum, PLLC. Call us today at 919-832-7700.