Parental divorce

How to tell children that parents are in divorce

Divorce is stresfull for everybody in the family, especially for children. When parents decide to tell children that they are going to divorce, it is important to tell them the truth in an age-appropriate way. Both parents should be present, calm and self-confident, so that children know that in crisis they can rely on their parents. If parents have more children, they should talk to all of them at the same time. They have to be honest and give appropriate information. They can tell their children that they have worked hard to improve their relationship, that they cannot stay together, that they will live separated lives, but together they will take care of their children and provide everything their children need. It is important to present everything as mutual decisions, to abstain from blaming each other (e.g. if one parent does not want to divorce, it is not something that should be shared with children). Children very often think that they have done something wrong which is the cause of parental divorce. They may be told that almost always children blame themselves for their parents’ diorce, but that by no means children can be guilty. It is important to repeat this often, several times throught a longer period of time.

Children are often worried that parents will stop loving them because they have stopped loving each other. Parents should emphasise that, although adults sometimes stop loving each other and get divorced, they never stop loving their children. It is also important to talk about their future life and to offer them an opportunity to ask all the questions they want to ask.

It is of utmost importance not to ask children with whom they want to live, because it pressures them to choose between parents they equally love and need. Such a decision is too difficult for a child.