How To Tell Your Children About Divorce

How To Tell Your Children About Divorce

A divorce is never fun. No matter who made the decision, there are many feelings to consider for both of you.
The most important thing right now is that, together, you focus on what’s best for your children. Remember, there is a difference between acting as parents who want the best for the children, and being (x) partner, where emotions: sadness, failure, disappointment, and anger; take over. When it comes to the children, you are parents together and have the same interest in your children being able to move forward well. Save the other feelings for when you talk together as ex-partners / ex-husband / ex-wife.
When your children are told that you shall divorce, usually the children will be frightened by the major changes they are to face. What is going to happen? Where will they live? Will they still see you both? Many questions will come up, and it’s important that you are prepared, together, and have a plan for what you say and how you say it, so that the children will still see you as the stable foundation they will need in the coming difficult times.

Important considerations before you inform the children about divorce

This checklist prepares you for what questions to have answers for, before sitting down and talking with the children. Remember, neither of you should talk to the children before agreeing to let them know. As parents with a common focus, it’s important that you are both ready for the difficult conversation. The list is not topics that MUST be addressed with the child(ren), but topics that are important, and common, and can be prepared beforehand, if the child(ren) should ask. The most important things to the child(ren) are usually about where they will live and whether they will keep in touch with both parents.Where are you/we going to live?

Where are you going to live?

It is important that the child(ren) gets told about whether they should move or not. Therefore, clarify what is going to happen to your current home and where you are looking for a new one. Explain who should live where, and if you have already found accommodations, before moving to the next topic. How often does the child(ren) see you?

Parenting Schedule

Should the child(ren) see you equally, or should the child(ren) live mostly with one party? How have you planned the get-togethers or parenting schedule? 

What about school / daycare?

Does the child(ren) need to change school(s) or will you stay in the area? In the event that one parent moves further away, how would commuting from home to school / institution work?

What if the child misses mom / dad?

Already have an arrangement in place on whether the child should call / FaceTime or if a “drop by” is okay, and when, if the parent’s absence becomes too great.

Any Pets?

If you have any pets, make sure you have agreed on what happens with them, and let the child(ren) know. Siblings


Have a clear plan for how siblings are included, or not included, in the parenting schedule.

What about vacations, birthdays, and Christmas?

How do you imagine the holidays? Are they a shared family event, or individual?

When do you / we move

If possible, have an estimated move date, so the child(ren) know what to expect and when. Why are you getting divorced?

Remember; a divorce is a grownup decision

Children often ask who did or said what, resulting in the decision to divorce. Remember, it is a matter for the adults, and not something to involve the child(ren) in. Tell the child(ren) that it is an adult matter and between mother and father. Some children are worried about their guilt. Emphasize that it is the adults’ decision and is about growing up, and not something that has anything to do with the child(ren).


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