Q&A:  How do we tell our kids we're getting a divorce?

We’re getting a divorce and we haven’t told our kids yet. When should we do that? And better yet: how should we do that?


I’ve worked with quite a few families who are entering (or in the midst of) the process of divorce, and I think this is the first question that parents ask me when we meet.  To me, this shows just how much parents care about their kids – they know that a difficult, painful transition is on the horizon and they want to protect their children from any unnecessary hurts or struggles.

 

However, the reality is this:  your family, as you know it, is changing drastically and permanently.  And your kids need to meet this new reality.

 

In essence, you as parents have the challenging task of telling your kids about an upcoming loss that will inevitably affect them, which can feel similar to telling them a loved one was dying or a dear friend was moving or a treasured home was up for sale.  The loss is coming, and how we prepare our children is crucial to how they move through this transition.

your family, as you know it, is changing drastically and permanently. And your kids need to meet this new reality.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some different aspects of how to have this extremely important conversation with your children.  Here are a few questions to consider as we start delving into this topic:

 

- What do my children already know about the divorce?  (Note:  this is not, “What do I hope my kids know/don’t know?” but instead, “What do I really think my kids already know?”)

 

- What have my children experienced thus far as the relationship is ending?  (I.e. arguing, staying in separate bedrooms, silent tension, etc.)

 

- What questions do I anticipate my children will have about the divorce?

 

- What do I want my children to understand about the divorce and the subsequent changes in the family?

 

- What do I anticipate will be the hardest part for me in having this conversation?

 

In this with you,

Alair

Write a comment

Comments: 0

Come on in- how can I help?

Some different options about where we can start

Couple's Therapy

 

Knowing why we feel disconnected, and creating new ways of being with each other

Individual Therapy

 

Letting go of what needs to be released and discovering what needs to be found

Family Therapy

 

Finding out why we don't get along, and figuring out how we can be a family 

 

Play Therapy

 

Helping kids use play to feel safe and strong, especially when bad things happen



sit and stay a while

Some thoughts I share on "Rooted + Grounded"

 

 

The New Normal | Do I Want to Go Back?

 

 "Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." - Rumi


in the neighborhood

Some helpful resources in the nearby and virtual community

  National Child Traumatic

Stress Network

Talking with Kids + Teens When Scary

Things Happen

 

These resources offer guidance on talking with children and youth when scary things happen. This fact sheet includes information on checking in with yourself, clarifying your goal, providing information, reflecting, asking helpful questions, going slow, labeling emotions, validating, and reducing media exposure. 


 

Alair Olson, M.A.

 Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT#86504)

858.634.0302 | therapy@alairolson.com