Talking to Children About Divorce

stay-at-homeDeciding to get divorced is one of the most challenging decisions Illinois parents can make. This is especially true when they share children. Parents who have decided to get divorced may worry about the short- and long-term impacts of divorce on their children, beginning with the initial conversation when they break the bad news.

Even though divorce is never easy, there are strategies for handling conversations about divorce that can make the process much easier for children. In this article, we will discuss three tips for parents who want to talk to their kids about divorce in a healthy and productive way.

Have the Conversation Together

Although parents may want to give each child their side of the story, this approach is not age-appropriate. Instead, parents should talk together first and decide how to tell the children using supportive and honest language. Parents do not need to get into the details of their breakup, but should tell their children more generally that they cannot get along or do not want the same things.

Parents should also try to prevent their children from hearing about the divorce from siblings, friends, or neighbors. Children are surprisingly good at overhearing things; what parents are afraid to tell their children, the children will likely discover through other means. Parents who can be their children’s first source of accurate information about the divorce will find that the process goes much smoother.

Welcome Every Reaction

Each child will handle the news of divorce in a different way. Some may be angry, sad, or surprisingly nonchalant. It is important to remember that the way a child feels after first hearing about divorce is not indicative of how they will feel later. Parents should be open to the many different reactions that their children may have, and let each child know that their feelings are okay.

Set Expectations

Although some things will change with the divorce, children thrive on stability and will need to know what they can expect. If you know which parent is going to move out, tell them. If you do not have the answer to a question, let them know that as well. Tell them what is likely to stay the same (school, friends, and extended family) and what is likely to change (parenting schedules, second residence, holiday schedules). More than anything, reassure them of your love and commitment to parenting them.

Work with a Wheaton, IL Divorce Attorney

At Cosley Law Office, we understand that the first concern of many divorcing parents is how to protect their children. That is why we will work with you to help you understand your options and formulate a divorce plan based on your preferences. We strive to take the stress out of the legal side of divorce so you can focus on your family. To schedule an initial consultation with an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney, contact our offices today at 847-253-3100.


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