How to Approach the Conversation of Divorce with Your Children

Shahzad Masood

Conversation of Divorce

Coming to terms with your separation can be incredibly difficult, and we know that when there are children involved, it can make navigating the whole process even more challenging. For parents, it can often feel daunting to approach the subject, especially if you have younger children who may not be able to fully comprehend what is happening around them.

In this article, we’ll share some advice for parents who are preparing to have a conversation with their children about their separation.

Avoid going into the details

It’s important that when you come to have a conversation with your children, you don’t overwhelm them with any of the finer details of your separation. It can be incredibly tough for children to come to terms with why their parents might no longer want to be together, and you don’t want to give them any opportunity to blame themselves or feel at fault for what has happened.

Instead, stay clear of going into the details, and use language that your children will understand. You can delicately explain that you and your partner are no longer going to be living in the same house, while simultaneously comforting them by letting them know they will still get to spend time with both parents individually.

If your children are older, you may feel more comfortable being more open about the divorce, but it’s still best to avoid going into too much detail about your decision behind the separation.

Offer your children reassurance

A separation brings with it periods of instability and uncertainty, but you want to ensure that your children are impacted as little as possible. Instead, offer them reassurance that, although life may look a little different going forward, everything is going to be okay.

Your children will undoubtedly experience a range of emotions, and as a parent, you should make an effort to validate how they are feeling and encourage them to express themselves. Whether that’s letting them know it’s okay to be upset or respecting their wishes if they want to have some time alone. Just let them know that you will be there for them if they want to talk to you about how they are feeling.

Let them grieve

Divorce can feel like an intense loss for a child, as the life they were once so accustomed to is suddenly and drastically changing right before their eyes. As with grief, there is very little you can do as you navigate the tough weeks and months ahead, but what you can do is be there for your children as they process their emotions.

Take the time to sit down and listen to your children and let them know they are free to speak their minds, even if they are unable to articulate how they are truly feeling. Grief comes in stages, so be prepared that your child may express a range of emotions and behaviours as they adjust to their new normal.

Provide your children with stability

The most important thing you need to make sure your children are aware of is that, no matter what is changing in the world around them, you and your partner are going to be able to provide them with a stable family life and a home where they will feel loved and cared for.

We know it can be tough to find common ground when you are going through a difficult separation, but establishing a concrete co-parenting plan and explaining to your children when they are going to spend time with each parent and what they can expect from their new routines will be hugely beneficial and help you all cope with the changes you are dealing with in an amicable and respectful manner.

If you and your partner think you may benefit from some guidance as you contemplate how to discuss your divorce with your children, you could consider consulting with family law solicitors. They’ll be able to offer you support and advice as you and your partner navigate your divorce and help you approach the conversation of your separation with your children.

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