How to tell your children you’re getting a divorce
Mar 02, 2021
Telling your children you're getting a divorce is not something you ever want to do or expect to have to do - but unfortunately it’s common nowadays, with 42% of marriages ending in divorce in the UK.
There’s no doubt that divorce does have an impact on children and many couples actually decide to stay together for the sake of the children. However, that’s not always the best decision, as children are very perceptive and pick up on any tensions at home. It can be better to have two parents living separately who are both happy, rather than two parents at home together arguing all the time.
If you have decided to separate - when it comes to telling your children - here are 10 tips to help you manage the situation as best as you can:
- Tell them together – There is no easy way to break the news to your children, but no matter what your differences are with your partner, it’s so important that you show a united front and tell the children together as a couple.
- Decide beforehand what you will say – it’s going to be emotional and it’s likely that your children will be upset. By knowing what you will say beforehand, it will help you to manage your emotions and to feel more in control. It also helps to ensure that you tell the children the important facts they need to know. Practice what you’re going to say out loud beforehand so you’re prepared.
- Make sure you allow plenty of time – Don’t tell them just before bedtime as they are likely to be upset as well as tired. Make sure you have allowed enough time with them afterwards to reassure them and to answer all their questions
- Reassure them that they are still loved by both of you – Make sure they know that you both still love them - that you always will do - and that your split will never change that.
- Reassure them that this is not their fault – it’s only natural that some children will assume it’s their fault and that they have done something wrong. They need to know that the decision has nothing to do with them and that they couldn’t have done anything to change it.
- Keep it simple – especially if you have younger children. Explain it to them in words that they will understand - for example they may not understand the word divorce.
- Don’t blame your partner – It’s essential that you don’t do this and you show a united front when you tell them. Avoid anger, guilt or blame. Don’t put the children in a position that they feel they have to choose between the two of you, or have to blame one of you.
- Tell them what will happen – If you can, it’s better to tell the children once you have most of the details worked out so they’re not left in a period of limbo. Tell them where the other partner will be living and when they will see them going forward. Reassure them that you will both always be there for them and that you can Facetime every night etc. Try not to overwhelm them at this stage with too much information unless they specifically ask.
- Don’t get emotional – easier said than done in this situation when your children will potentially be upset. But you need to reassure them that everything will be ok and keeping control of your emotions supports this. You can breakdown afterwards - but wait until you’re alone. If they see you upset, they will be worried about you as well.
- Focus on the positives – Try and pull out some positives for them for example they will have a new bedroom that they can decorate or they’ll get to spend more quality time with you both.
Remember that you both are role models for your children. They will take their lead from you so be mindful of how you behave. This doesn’t automatically have to be a negative experience for your children - but that’s down to both of you. It can be a life lesson for them in how to handle adversity, how to bounce back from it and make the best of situations. That will help to build their resilience for later in life.
If you’re going through a divorce at the moment and struggling to cope you can download my free gift to you – 10 Simple Secrets to Let Go of Heartbreak & Start Moving on With Your Life After Your Separation.
I also have a free Facebook group you can join – The Breakup and Divorce Lounge. It’s a community of women all in the same situation to support and encourage each other in a safe and non-judgemental space. https://bit.ly/thebreakupanddivorcelounge