How to Talk to Your Kids About Divorce

Divorces are already messy and painful for everybody involved - there really isn’t any way around that. But, there is a way you can lessen some of the suffering as you talk to your kids about divorce. You may be wondering where do you even begin? First of all, know that kids are more intuitive than you may even realize. They most likely have picked up on some discord even if they aren’t able to articulate it. Having some insight as to why might give them answers they have been looking for. Even so, that doesn’t lessen the impact that this difficult conversation will ensue.

As you prepare to talk to your kids about your divorce, here are 5 things to keep in mind:

1. Before even speaking to them you need to be prepared to receive their emotions
However these emotions come up needs to be accepted. Whether they are angry, withdrawn, weepy, distant, or confused - you and your partner need to be a safe space and not tell them how to feel.

2. Be open and straightforward
If you speak in vague terms or metaphors that can be confusing to kids. Try to make your dialogue as clear as possible of what is happening and what they can expect to change in the coming weeks.

3. Keep it age appropriate Talking with a four-year-old is very different than speaking with a fourteen- year-old. Try to refrain from anything too meta for younger children as well
as anything too dumbed down for the older ones.

4. Ask them if they have any questions
They may have friends’ parents who had a messy divorce and are already picturing what your situation would be. Open up the conversation to talk with them what it may look like and ease confusion and expectations.

5. Remind them that you will always be a family Regardless of living situations, you both will always be their parents and this does not affect your love for them whatsoever. You cannot repeat this enough - say it over and over not only in this conversation, but in the coming days to validate and reassure them that they are going to be okay.

Sometimes it helps to have a neutral third party to talk to as well. Whether you secure a therapist for your child to talk to or one for you to have on hand. I’m happy to either be that for you or make a referral to a child psychologist that I trust for your child. Feel free to reach out to me for an appointment. You can either email me at or call my office at (310) 614-0323.

Sending you good thoughts and wishes as you begin this journey of uncoupling.