How should we tell our children about our divorce?

Going through a divorce can be difficult on everyone involved, especially children. Breaking the news to your child or children is a conversation that should be well planned. According to a report in Psychology Today, Utah researchers did some in-depth research into parents who are divorcing and how they tell their children.

The findings showed that parents should do the following: 

  •        Tell everyone all at once. Leaving younger children out of the conversation could put pressure on older children not to talk about the situation, and the younger children may feel slighted.
  •        Have the conversation in a safe, welcoming place. Researchers stated that children often remember hearing the news, leaving the potential for a particularly scarring experience to stick with them over time.
  •        Work toward a swift divorce. Dragging out the process can be stressful on children who were told a year ago that the divorce would happen, and it has yet to come to fruition.
  •        Allow a child to express his or her feelings. Each child may have a different reaction, and parents should keep in mind that sadness, anger, fear and even indifference are all normal.

While the New Jersey Courts stipulate that a couple must cite a reason for the divorce when filing, experts recommend shielding children from the details of why the marriage is ending. Kids should not be used as intermediaries or as sounding boards for a spouse’s complaints. When breaking the news, answer questions truthfully but succinctly, catering responses to the age of the children.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

Date Published: February 7, 2017

Written by: Cooper Levenson, P.A.

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