How To Talk About Divorce to Your Kids in 2023

Divorce is hard for anyone involved – the couple, friends, and family. But children of the divorcing couple, regardless of age, are usually casualties of their parents’ faults and decisions and it can be terribly hard. Figuring out how to talk about divorce to kids can be anxiety-inducing, worrisome, and overwhelming for the parents at a time when stress is already high and difficult. And for the kids, it can be scary, sad, and upsetting. With some planning ahead, telling children about divorce can be a little easier for everyone.

Daily Mom Parent Portal How To Talk About Divorce

Know Your Divorce Plan

Before the word divorce is even mentioned to the children, the divorcing spouses should have a pretty concrete plan decided between them. If you have a contentious separation and aren’t quite sure how to talk about divorce with your spouse, get with a counselor who can help. It’s also important to know how to talk to your spouse about divorce so you can create a plan for telling the children.

So whether that means living in the same space temporarily, or one parent is moving out, or maybe the children will be moving, children will need to have an idea of what to expect. The more details you can realistically give, the better. But it’s also OK to tell children when decisions haven’t been decided, and “I don’t know, but we will tell you when we do” is a perfectly acceptable answer to any unknown question.

Ultimately, the more information that CAN be shared with the children when it’s time to figure out how to talk about divorce to the kids, the better. To start, think about covering the Who, What, Where, When, and Whys, but not necessarily in that order.

Pick A Time

Believe it or not, the timing of when the news of an impending divorce is shared with children can play a big role in how they handle the news. It can be just as important as how it’s said, and thought should certainly be placed in deciding when to share the news. A child after a long and exhausting school day, who hasn’t been able to spend a lot of time with their parents isn’t going to be as accepting of the news as a rested, well-loved child.

Pick a day in the future when both parties will be able to sit down as a family together and have plenty of uninterrupted time to discuss the news. This not only allows for tons of open-ended time for questions and maybe tears, but also makes sure that the news isn’t rushed, and the child feels heard.

READ MORE: Navigating The Effects Of Divorce On Children: Guiding Your Child Through Your Divorce

A time that may work best is on a Friday evening or Saturday morning when the rest of the weekend can be spent spending extra time together.

Have Support In Place

Maybe before or while in the process of actually figuring out how to talk about divorce to children, it’s important to reach out and find counseling or therapy for both yourself and your children. Even in an amicable divorce, it’s important to deal with unique feelings or emotions, and having a therapist is the right place to do that. It’s especially important for children and teens as they still have a difficult time expressing themselves.

READ MORE: 5 Ways to Have a Healthy Coparenting Relationship after Divorce

It’s also important to let other people who can be helpful to you and the kids know the situation. This does not mean telling everyone in the world or posting on social media about the impending divorce plans. But it does mean telling a few close and dependable people to support you. And it’s a great idea to reach out to the child’s teacher to inform them to look for changes in a child’s behavior or demeanor. Even better? A school counselor is a great resource for children learning how to talk about divorce.

Create Bullet Points

Once a plan is somewhat decided, a time has been chosen, and resources are in place, it’s time to start forming how to talk about divorce in the actual discussion. Sit down and spend some time coming up with bullet points of what information you want to share with your child or children. This may include:

  • What a divorce is
  • Why you’re getting a divorce
  • What that means for your family or what changes may take place
  • That it is not the child’s fault and that they’re still very much loved
  • That it’s OK to be sad or have emotions, and where the child can go to discuss their thoughts
  • That it’s OK to ask questions

Discuss with Spouse

Children are naturally curious and many will have plenty of questions once the news breaks. Making sure both sides are on the same page with each bullet point will show that the parents are doing this together. And that is an important aspect of making sure the kids feel secure.

The day or two prior to sharing the news with the kids, share bullet points together. While it may be difficult, it’s important to continue putting the well-being of the children first. Making sure each detail is covered and agreed on will ultimately all be for the benefit of the children.

READ MORE: Dating Life After the Divorce: Why it’s Easier to Find a Partner Than You Might Think

Continue to Talk

Remember, each family and child is different. Learning how to talk about divorce with your children is also going to depend on their ages and their personalities. One important thing to remember is to continue to talk with them.

Letting children know that they’re always going to be able to ask questions, or share emotions will help them transition through this difficult time. Also remember that not only are you learning how to talk about divorce with them, but they’ll be learning how to talk about divorce with you. And make sure to give continual and extra love during this difficult and scary time.

Divorce is hard. And it’s especially hard for children. But when the effort is made to handle how to talk about divorce to kids in a positive way, the process can go smoother and be less stressful for all involved.

Check out Daily Mom’s article on Divorce Rings: New Ways to Find Closure and Move On


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Daily Mom Parent Portal How To Talk About Divorce



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Lauren Austin
Lauren Austin
She's a full-time Financial Coach, professional designer, and part-time home DIYer. As a business owner of Financial Fundaments, and an awesome mom to 3 young kids, she has a full plate but loves every minute of it. Lauren became a Daily Mom to satisfy her need for writing while helping other moms take control of their financial health.