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How To Tell Your Child(ren) About Your Divorce

The worst thing to do is to do nothing. It is a time of great emotions for you which may include hurt, pain, humiliation, confusion, and a host of other emotions. Yet it is a time when you must deal with the emotions of your child(ren).

The response of your children may range from being pleased (in the case of abuse and/or long term disharmony) to shock and anger. Listed below are some guidelines for telling your children.


Both of you is ideal. You should sit down as a family so all hear the same things and can ask questions.


The best time is a few days to a week before your physical separation.

  • Meet as a family
  • Be available and encourage questions
  • Be considerate and honest in answering questions
  • Do not get into blame
  • Do not discuss details of the otherís faults

Be Truthful
  • Do not use honesty as a weapon to hurt your spouse, but be truthful
  • Be respectful of your child(ren)ís love for both of you
  • Consider the need for stability in the lives of your child(ren)
  • The more information , the better. Donít be so brief that your child(ren) try to fill in the blanks
  • Discuss what changes will occur, e.g., who will be moving, what you expect might happen
  • Explain that it is not their fault

What Not to Do
  • Do not wait until one of the parents have already left
  • Do not lie
  • Do not tell them before a definite decision is made to split up

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