Families Change
Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

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What should I say?

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  • Tell your kids the basic reasons you’re getting a divorce. You don’t need to go into a lot of detail, especially if the issues are very personal.
  • Don’t blame the other parent or accuse them of doing anything to cause the divorce.
  • Tell your kids as often as you can that this is not their fault. Your kids need to know that they aren’t the reason you’re getting divorced. Research has shown that most children’s first reactions are feelings of guilt and that they did something to cause the break-up.
  • Let them know that you’re getting divorced because of problems in your relationship. You will always be their parent, no matter what. You will never stop loving them.
  • Be clear that your decision is final. You shouldn’t give your kids false hope that you will get back together if that isn’t going to happen.
  • Make sure they know that they will not be losing either of their parents.
  • Listen to your kids. If they aren’t taking it well, let them know that you are always willing to talk more about it when they are ready.
  • Give your children space. Invite them to ask questions and talk about their feelings and worries.


Here are some examples of how you can explain the situation to your children

  • “We have tried very hard, but we just can’t fix our problems. We both love you very much and we will still be your parents, but we won’t be living together anymore.”
  • “Grown-ups have problems that they have to deal with, even though it causes their children pain. We are sorry that this is making you unhappy, but this change in our family will not change our love for you.”
  • “We know it is upsetting for you, and we also wish that this was not happening. This isn’t your fault, and it is important to remember that we will always love and care for you.”
  • “We will always be your parents, and you will always be our child.”
  • “You did nothing wrong, and there is nothing you could do to stop it from happening.”
  • “I understand how you must be feeling, but remember that the problem is between your parents. There is nothing you could have done differently to prevent this from happening.”
  • “It may be hard for you to imagine this change happening to your family, but together we will work it out. We will always look after you and will do everything we can to help the family get used to the change.”
  • “Do not be afraid to tell us how you feel or what you are thinking.”