The Divorce Talk: When and How to Tell Your Kids

Serving Clients Throughout Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Napa Counties

As a parent, one of the most difficult aspects of divorce is the stress of when and how to tell your kids that the marriage is ending. While never a happy time, you can make the “divorce talk” more positive for your children by following these 5 tips:

1) Timing is everything

Make sure that you and your spouse are certain about your decision to divorce before having a discussion with your children about the topic. If there is any chance of reconciliation in the future, parents should avoid marital talks with their kids. When and if the decision to divorce becomes certain, pick a time and day where the family can all sit down together without interruptions or distractions. Avoid times when you are in a rush, such as before putting the kids on the bus, or during high-stress times, such as the holidays.

2) Reinforce that the divorce is not the child’s fault

It may seem simple, but reassuring your child that the breakdown of your marriage was not their fault can have a profound impact on their ability to cope with the situation. Reinforcing that your marital problems are outside of your child’s influence will help assuage any guilt that they may feel.

3) Encourage open communication now and later

Encourage your children to be open about how they are feeling, both now and in the months ahead. Scheduling a regular “check-in” time, such as after dinner, to discuss how they are coping is an excellent way to demonstrate that you are interested in their feelings and input.

4) Avoid the blame game

Although you and your spouse are going your separate ways, it is important to maintain a united front when telling your kids about the divorce. Even if the divorce is one-sided, it should be presented as a joint decision made for the benefit of the entire family. By avoiding the blame game, you respect both your child and your spouse.

5) Prevent feelings of abandonment

A common fear for children is that a parent will abandon them. You can prevent feelings of abandonment by reassuring your children that, although your relationship with your spouse has changed, that you will always be their parent no matter what.

Compassionate and caring California divorce representation

At Carroll Law Group, we understand that divorce can be a stressful and difficult time for families. For a low cost consultation and more information on how we can help with your divorce, please contact our office at (707) 536-1156.

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