One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is the initial conversation where you tell your kids that dad and mom are no longer living together.  

You and your partner may agree with separation, but not necessarily your kiddos. They try to understand your separation from a different angle which can be a positive angle or a negative angle

As you already noticed the key point here is “good communication” but the question you’re maybe wondering is “how to talk about it with my kids in a proper way?”

Well, we’ll point out 3 ways you can explain divorce to your kids in this post.

1. Be Age-Appropriate

One big challenge that parents face is to find out the right way to communicate with their children, especially, when they are under 12. For example, it’s not the same talking with your kids between 7 – 9 as ones under 7.

So we recommend tackling the divorce conversation with your children according to their ages:

  • Try to use words that match the vocabulary level of your kids.
  • Use toys for your kids under 7, and use just words with your kiddos between 7 – 9.
  • Because your kids are young, plan to share your story with them several times.
  • Work together with your partner to talk about your divorce with your kiddos.
  • Be prepared for any questions that your kids will probably ask you.

We know that talking about your divorce with your children is a challenging task; here’s Carly explaining this concept a little bit more in minutes 3:43 – 8:10 in our video podcast.

2. Keep it Simple

One common error is using complex language or even a long speech that is often overwhelming to explain getting a divorce.

Here are some ways to keep the conversation simple:

  • Use a simple narrative about facts.
  • Be honest with them. Be truthful in your explanations and answers.
  • Explain why dad and mom are no longer living together.
  • Kids above 9 try to use their full vocabulary.

Apply these tips with your kids and you will be able to clearly communicate your separation. As a result, your children will have an honest and accurate understanding of the situation.

If you want to go deeper into these tips, watch this clip from minute 8:36 – 12:30 in the video podcast.

3. Be Consistent Without Placing Blame

It’s common to see parents, when divorcing, fall into the trap of talking with their kids individually about the divorce. This is not helpful.

The reason why we think it’s a wrong approach is that it is extremely hard to deliver a consistent message to your kids because in these scenarios the dad and mom tend to blame each other for this challenging situation.

So in order to reduce the risk of confusion and anger, we encourage you to follow these tips:

  • Work together on the divorce conversation with your partner so you can be consistent.
  • Before you sit down with the kids, plan ahead how to answer possible questions.
  • Be honest if you don’t know the answer, but promise them to find it out for them.
  • Be mindful that if you work together the kids will better understand the divorce transition.

The fundamental point is to work together to explain to your kids about your divorce.

It’s important to build the appropriate strategy to tackle this conversation with them, together.

Carly shares ideas on this in minutes 12:30 – 16:29 in the video podcast. 

We know that talking to your children about your divorce is not easy, but if you try to put yourself in your kid’s position by using the appropriate language, adopt a simple and familiar language with them, and keep a consistent message by working together with your partner, you and your kids will accept the facts as it is and most importantly create a consistent narrative for your children to process the divorce.

If you or your children could use extra support in creating a co-parenting plan or schedule, please reach out to us today.

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Susan Stutzman

Susan Stutzman

Owner | Child Therapist | LCPC, RPT

Parenting is hard! But you don’t have to do it alone. I work with children and parents to resolve emotional conflict, cultivate healing, and nurture hope.

We help anxious kids and frustrated parents. We serve Hinsdale & the Western Suburbs of Chicago.

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