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

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Alair Olson, M.A.

 Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

(LMFT#86504)

 

South Mission Valley | San Diego, CA  

858.634.0302 | therapy@alairolson.com