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When should you tell your children you’re divorcing?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Divorce |

Parents worry about how their divorce will impact their children, so they tend to put off telling them. And the longer the conversation is put off, the more difficult it becomes.

When is the right time to tell your children you and your co-parent are divorcing?

Helping your children to understand

Parents sometimes forget how intuitive children are. It may be likely that they have noticed tension between you and your spouse. You don’t want to tell them too early, especially if there is any uncertainty regarding the separation. However, you don’t want to wait too long, or they may hear it from someone else.

There is no perfect time to tell your children you are divorcing, but there are times you definitely should not tell them, such as:

  • Special occasions, such as birthdays or holidays
  • Before a big exam or important sports event
  • Right before school, bed or a playdate

Here are some tips for when you and the other parent discuss the divorce with your children:

  1. Choose a time when you will be undisturbed
  2. If possible, you and your spouse should both be present
  3. Be sure to keep the conversation age-appropriate
  4. Tell them that your decision has nothing to do with them and is strictly about your relationship with each other
  5. Reassure them that both of you will still have significant involvement in their lives
  6. Emphasize that both of you love them very much, and that will never change
  7. Be prepared for a wide range of emotions, including sadness, anger and anxiety
  8. Expect several questions regarding living arrangements, special occasions, and how this will impact their lives
  9. Focus on your children’s relationship with you and the other parent. Don’t badmouth or blame your spouse.

A parent’s divorce is a very traumatic time in a child’s life. But by reassuring them of you and your co-parent’s unconditional love and support for them, you will eventually make the transition into this new family dynamic. 


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