Families Change
Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

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How should we tell our kids?

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If you can, you and your ex-partner should talk to your kids about your divorce together. This will make sure you don’t blame each other. It will give you both a chance to answer the children’s questions. Having you both there will help the children understand that they are not being abandoned. But if you and your ex-partner can’t sit down and talk to the kids without fighting, it’s better if you talk to them separately.

Here are some tips for when and where to tell the children:

  • Choose a safe and comfortable place where the children can react honestly and openly.
  • Do not wait until the last possible moment. Your kids probably know something is going on, and putting off telling them will only confuse them and make them worry.
  • Try to avoid telling them when you are anxious or upset.
  • Pick a quiet time in the day when there isn’t much going on and you have plenty of time. For younger children it’s best not to tell them when they are tired or cranky.
  • Don’t overload them with information. It may be better if you have a few shorter talks with them, explaining only the most important issues at first.
  • The first conversation will be the most difficult for the family. Leave the door open for talking about it more. Your kids will have more questions as time goes on.
  • Be with the children and stay around after you have this talk.