Divorce: Breaking the News to your ChildrenWritten on March 25, 2016
Divorce is a very difficult time for a married couple, but when young children are in the picture, it makes the situation much more complex and emotional. At the Silverbach Group, we have led many families through this difficult process and wanted to offer some advice of how to speak to your children about this painful subject.
First, it is extremely important to reassure that the reasons for the divorce (regardless of what they are) are not the child’s fault. Children tend to overhear arguments in the home, and when those arguments mention the children by name, it is a natural reaction for the child to feel at fault. While you don’t have to go into detail about the reasons for the divorce, offer enough information that is appropriate to the child’s age. For example, “We have differences that we are not able to work through.” As your child matures, an opportunity will eventually present itself for a conversation about the deeper reasons you chose divorce.
Second, we highly recommend consulting with a family counselor or psychologist who will be able to help your child(ren) learn to talk about the difficult feelings they will begin to process over the following weeks, months, and years. While every family is different, it can never hurt to have the advice of a trained professional.
Finally, we encourage all of our clients to still be a “team” when it comes to the children. While an amicable relationship cannot always exist between the two parents during or following a divorce, most experts agree that speaking negatively about the child’s other parent does much more harm than good. We know that every relationship, family, and divorce is unique because everyone and every situation is different, but we love children (because we have our own!) and we desire this difficult time to be as peaceful for them—and you—as possible.