Speaking to children about separation and divorce can be a tricky conversation and one you and your soon to be ex-partner want to get right. The following points are a useful guide to consider before telling your child you’re getting divorced.
Know what you are both going to say and how you are going to say it. Together with your spouse dot point key messages that you think are initially important for your child to hear. There will likely be more conversations in the future about what is happening, however the initial conversation needs to concentrate on the imitate facts.
Obviously your child doesn’t need to know all the details of the end of your marriage, however they do have the right to know what’s happening and how the changes are going to impact their day-to-day lives.
“It’s best if you can explain in clear, simple and honest language your child can understand. For example, ‘We both love you, and we’re going to take care of you. But we’ve decided that it works best for our family if Dad and I live apart’.”
Presenting a united front shows your child that you can still work as a team and have their best interests at heart. This is not a time for blame or accusations it’s about guiding your child through uncharted territory of emotions at the same time reassuring them that everything will be ok.
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“Experts agree that it’s best to have this conversation with the entire family present and then to follow up with each child separately. But if you’re concerned that your older child is going to take the news hard or that her reaction will upset a younger child (after all, a school-age child understands the concept of divorce more than a toddler or preschooler does), you and your spouse may want to talk to each child individually.”
Consider what concerns and worries your child may have about the divorce and how it may affect their lives. They will probably want to know what will change and what won’t change in their day to day lives.
Note: “What you say and what your kids hear may not be the same thing. Most young children (and plenty of older ones too) will blame themselves for the divorce. It’s important to head that one off as soon as possible by telling them directly that it has nothing to do with them…”
“It will take time for your children to process how they feel. You should expect to have many more conversations with them as the separation and divorce proceed. Both you and your spouse should be open to answering questions and responding to your children’s emotional needs. Be honest with them about what you know and what you don’t know.”
Note: This is general information advice only and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters, please contact us on 03 9620 0088 or email email@example.com
 2016, ‘Helping children adjust after separation or divorce’, Raising Children, 2 Feb, viewed 6 August 2018, http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/separation_helping_children_adjust.html
 Moninger J, ‘How to Tell Your Kids That You’re Getting a Divorce, Parents, viewed 6 August 2018, https://www.parents.com/parenting/divorce/children/how-to-tell-your-kids-that-you-are-getting-a-divorce/
 Brott, A 2014, 9 Things To Consider Before Telling Your Kids About The Divorce, 26thJuly 2014, viewed 6 August 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/26/what-you-need-to-know-bef_0_n_5615228.html
 Moninger, J, How to Tell Your Kids That You’re Getting A Divorce, viewed 6 August 2018. https://www.parents.com/parenting/divorce/children/how-to-tell-your-kids-that-you-are-getting-a-divorce/