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How to approach the subject of divorce with your kids

You understand that the decision to end your marriage will impact every member of your family in multiple ways. Your kids will experience changes in each area of their lives, and it can be difficult for a child to navigate everything that he or she is experiencing. New Jersey parents want to do everything possible to shield their children from any more pain and duress than they will already experience, and they will take steps to minimize the impact of their divorce in any way possible.

One way to accomplish this goal is to protect your kids at every step of the divorce process, starting with the initial conversation you will have with them about it. By approaching this conversation in the right way, you may be able to ease the stress your children may feel and make this difficult process a bit easier. You will also lay the foundation for how they adjust to their new circumstances during and after the process is final.

Be intentional when talking to the kids

Kids are both perceptive and resilient, and they may suspect that something is wrong before you sit down and tell them of your divorce. Before you have this conversation, however, it is important to plan what you will say. This may also ease the strain you are feeling as you think about this difficult talk. Other things you may consider as you plan this conversation include:

  • Have the conversation in a private setting as a way to allow your kids to react, ask questions, and express how they are feeling in the moment.
  • Consider having a conversation with the other parent present as well, explaining to your kids that you will continue to work together as their parents.
  • Explain to your kids why you have made this decision in a way that is age appropriate and simple to understand.
  • Explain to your kids how their routines will change, where they will live, and what to expect in the coming weeks and months.

Consideration of your kids’ needs and interests is a practical way to ensure that even the most difficult of conversations is as smooth as possible. As you plan for this conversation and look ahead to what is next, you may benefit from learning about the custody and visitation options available to your family.