How much do children need to know about your divorce?

Telling your kids that you plan to divorce is one of the hardest things about ending a marriage. You want to protect your children, but at the same time, you may feel they have a right to know what is happening.

Children do deserve to know what is going on between the two people they love the most. Unfortunately, there exists no definitive rule book on how much to tell your kids about your divorce.

Take the age of your kids into account

Honesty is the best policy when discussing divorce with your children. However, it helps to tailor your conversation around their ages. For example, a teenaged child understands more about relationship issues than a three-year-old may grasp. The tips below can help when breaking news of your divorce to your children.

  • Prepare ahead. Try to anticipate how your kids may react. Jot down a list of questions and worries they may have and prepare your answers according to their ages.
  • Do not assign blame. What you say when discussing divorce may impact your children more than you expected. Avoid any language indicating that anyone is to blame for the divorce.
  • Spare the details. Explain that the living arrangements and routines will undergo some changes but avoid overwhelming them with many details. You can always answer any questions they have about these matters later.
  • Stand together. When possible, it is best to tell your children about the divorce together. If they see you and your co-parent calmly discussing the matter together, they may feel more secure about the future.

A collaborative law divorce can also help your kids cope with divorce because it focuses on how divorced families function going forward. Consider learning more about collaborative law and the many ways it can benefit your children.