Discussing Divorce Or Separation With Your Children

Discussing divorce or separation with your children is a sensitive and challenging conversation. It’s important to approach this discussion with care and empathy. 

Here are some steps to help you navigate this difficult conversation

Plan Ahead. Take some time to plan the conversation. Choose a quiet and comfortable place where you can talk without distractions. Make sure both parents are present, if possible, to provide a united front and answer questions honestly and without argument from parents.

Choose the Right Time. As is commonly known, timing is everything. Avoid discussing divorce during stressful periods like holidays or birthdays. Pick a time when your children are not already dealing with other major life events or challenges.

Be Honest but Age-Appropriate. Tailor your conversation to your children’s ages and maturity levels. Be honest about the situation without providing unnecessary details or blaming one another. For younger children, keep it simple and reassure them of your love, and that mommy and daddy will always be there.

Use Simple Language. Explain the situation in straightforward, easy-to-understand language. Avoid legal or technical terms that might confuse them.

Reassure Them of Your Love. Emphasize that your love for them remains unchanged. Children often blame themselves for their parents’ divorce, so it’s crucial to reassure them that it’s not their fault.

Encourage Questions and Emotions. Let your children ask questions and express their feelings. Be prepared for a range of emotions, from anger and sadness to confusion and fear. Listen attentively and validate their feelings.

Avoid Blame and Conflict. Avoid placing blame on one another or involving your children in any disputes. This conversation should focus on explaining the situation and how it will affect them, not on the reasons for the divorce.

Keep It Private. Encourage your children to talk to you about their concerns or feelings, but avoid putting them in the middle of conflicts between you and your ex-partner.

Maintain Routine and Stability. After the conversation, try to maintain as much routine and stability as possible. Children thrive on predictability during times of change.

Seek Professional Help. Consider involving a family therapist or counselor, especially if you anticipate that your children may struggle with the emotional impact of the divorce. A professional can help both parents and children cope with the changes.

Co-Parenting Plan. If possible, discuss a co-parenting plan and share it with your children. Knowing that they will still have regular access to both parents can provide a sense of security.

Follow-Up. Continue to check in with your children and encourage open communication. The divorce process can be ongoing, and they may have questions or concerns that arise later.

Remember that the way you handle the conversation and the aftermath can significantly impact how your children cope with the divorce. It’s essential to prioritize their emotional well-being and provide them with the support and love they need during this challenging time.

Daugherty Law in Colorado provides low-cost divorce, low-cost child custody, name changes, and prenuptial agreements.


Mary Daugherty - Colorado Springs Lawyer

Contact Mary

I was very fortunate to have Mary as my attorney. Court is a hard enough place to be. Not only did Mary give me a 100% she also listened to me and that was important. Had a great out come. Thank you!
Carrie Bireland