How do you tell your children you are getting divorced?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Family Law

When parents decide to divorce, one of the most challenging tasks is telling their children about the decision. This conversation is necessary, as it shapes how children cope with the changes in their family structure.

There are several strategies to help you make it through this difficult discussion.

Choose the right time and place

Finding the right time and place is important for such a significant conversation. Choose a moment when the children do not have any immediate commitments, like school or extracurricular activities, that might distract them from processing the news. A comfortable, private setting where you can speak without interruptions is ideal.

Plan the conversation together

Both parents should plan to have this conversation together with their children. This united front can reassure the children that, despite the changes, parental support and love will continue. Discuss beforehand what you will say.

Keep the message clear and simple

Use clear and simple language that your children can easily understand. Avoid complex legal terms or detailed reasons for the divorce. You might say, “We have decided that we can no longer live together as a married couple, but we both love you very much and that will never change.”

Reassure them of your love

Children often feel insecure or blame themselves when they learn their parents are divorcing. You must reassure them that they are not responsible for the divorce and that both parents will continue to love and care for them. Emphasize that their relationship with both parents will not change.

Prepare for their reaction

Children might react in different ways to the news of a divorce. Some may cry, some may ask questions, and others might not react much at all. Be prepared for a range of emotions and give them the space to express their feelings openly and honestly. Let them know it is okay to be upset or confused.

Answer their questions truthfully

Be ready to answer any questions your children might have. Respond truthfully but consider their age when explaining. If they ask why, offer a reason that does not blame either parent, like “We tried very hard, but we are just not able to get along anymore.”

Discuss the next steps

Explain what will happen next, like who will move out and where the children will live. Provide as much detail as necessary to give them a sense of stability about their future. Let them know that some things will change, but the love and care they receive will remain the same.


By approaching this conversation with empathy, honesty, and clarity, you can help your children navigate the transition with less fear and more understanding.