Families Change
Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

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How do I tell my children?

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One of the hardest parts of deciding to separate or get a divorce is telling your children. You might feel like waiting to tell your children because you don’t know how to do it. But it is important to be honest with them once you make the decision. The way you handle telling your children will affect how well they are able to deal with the changes in their lives.

Even if you aren’t getting along with your partner, you should both try to agree on how to tell the children. Think about this ahead of time. Plan how you will answer their questions. If you are ready to have this talk, it will go better. Your children look to you for guidance; the way they react to this news will depend on how you tell them.

If you have been fighting or arguing in front of your kids, the news that you are separating might not be a surprise, especially for older children. Your kids might be more surprised if you have kept your problems a secret. No matter what your kids know about any problems you have been having, when they find out you are splitting up, it is normal for them to be upset.

We will try to answer some of your questions below:

  • How do I explain why we’re getting divorced?
  • How should we tell our kids?
  • What should I say?
  • What shouldn’t I say?
  • How should I answer children’s questions?
  • How do I let my kids know they can talk to me?
  • How should I tell other people in my child’s life?