How to Inform Children about an Impending Divorce

  1. Be sure that you are in control of your own emotions and are able to impart information in a reasonable fashion.
  2. Do not reveal anger, disappointment, fear, frustration, hurt or blame.
  3. Both parents should agree in advance on how, when, where, and the answer to any questions as to why. If the parents cannot agree on the substance of this conversation, they should seek professional therapeutic advice and agree to follow that advice.
  4. Both parents should tell the children together, unless otherwise advised by a therapeutic professional.
  5. All children need to be told at the same time, unless otherwise advised by a therapeutic professional.
  6. Offer clear, honest explanations. Avoid elaborate details about your marital problems (i.e. affairs, sexual problems, money problems).
  7. Focus on what will happen to each child. Describe basic changes (i.e. living arrangements, financial changes, time with the other parent).
  8. Assure your child he/she will be told of all major developments and changes.
  9. Extend an invitation to your child to make suggestions that will be considered.
  10. Stress that your child is not responsible for the divorce, and that this is an issue between the adults. Emphasize that it is not your child's fault.
  11. Reassure your child that the divorce does not weaken the bond between you and your child.
  12. Give your child a clear sense of an established place in each parent's home (i.e. their own room, place for toys, toiletries).
  13. Impart that the divorce is an adult decision and that there is nothing that the child can do to change this.
  14. Tell your children that there are counselors with whom they can consult confidentially with questions
  15. Give your children permission to love both parents.
  16. Assure your children that both parents love them.
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