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What should you tell your kids about divorce?

There’s no easy way to go through a divorce. The emotional and mental toll can be overwhelming. However, you may be even more concerned about how your children are going to handle the process.

You may want to shield your kids from the sometimes messy and complicated ordeal that is divorce. But your kids need to be included in some aspects of divorce. This is their life too and they need to be involved in parts.

Considering this, you may not know how exactly to talk to your kids about the divorce or what you should say. You might be wondering what parts of the process you should share with them and how you should go about talking to them about this experience.

How to tell them

Breaking the news about a divorce to your kids is one of the more difficult parts of the entire process. The initial conversation is important. Here are a few tips about having the first talk:

  • Tell your kids together and at the same time
  • Plan out what you’re going to say beforehand
  • Make sure your stories are consistent
  • Prepare for their potential questions

What to tell them

You might think that it is best to keep your children completely out of the divorce process. You may want to spare their feelings and emotions. However, keeping your kids out of the loop can do more harm than good.

There are certain parts of divorce it is better to share with your kids, rather than keep them in the dark. They will have questions and hearing the answers from you may help them process the experience better.

You might want to talk your kids through what is going to happen in the upcoming months, in general terms. They may be wondering where they are going to stay, if they can keep going to school, if they still will live in the house, if you will live in the house together. Answering these questions, within reason, may be helpful to your kids.

What not to tell them

While there are certain parts about divorce you do want to tell your kids about, there are also many things you may want to avoid telling them. It may be more helpful to know what you should not tell your kids about divorce. Some of these include:

  • The messy details (i.e. affairs or financial problems)
  • The cause or breaking point that lead to the divorce
  • Any criticism you have of your spouse
  • Legal issues/details (i.e. how you’re dividing the property, child custody evaluation details)

It’s no secret divorce is complicated and it can get more complex when you take your kids into consideration. Helping your kids cope with a divorce can be hard, but it is possible with patience, consistency and a level-head.

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