Parenting requires some difficult conversations with your children. Few will be more challenging than the one where you tell them that you are divorcing.
Timing matters when discussing serious issues. In the case of divorce, there is no perfect time, and it will be tough for you and your kids whenever you do it.
Talk to your kids about divorce before someone else does
Imagine your child comes home from school one day and asks if you are getting a divorce. When you ask them why they’re asking, they might say that one of their classmates heard their parent discussing it with someone in town. Rumors get around fast, so do not put it off too long as it would be awful for your child to find out first from someone else.
Here are some things to consider when choosing when to tell the children:
- Set aside quiet time for it: Your child might want to run out of the room as fast as possible. However, you need to be available in case they want to talk or ask questions. A half-hour slot between business meetings is not adequate to tell them.
- Think about what your child needs to do next: Telling your child on the way to school is unfair. Pick a time that allows them to process what you tell them in privacy — somewhere without people asking why they are crying or telling them that they need to pay attention.
- Avoid ruining an important occasion: The idea of going away on vacation with the kids so you can tell them and be there for them sounds good. Yet you may find they never want to go on vacation again if you do tell them about your divorce on one for fear of what new bad news you may share.
You do not need to tell your children everything about your divorce at once. You can share the details they need to know as you learn more about how divorce works yourself.