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Talking to Your Kids About Divorce

How will my divorce affect my kids?

If you are a parent considering divorcing your spouse, your children are likely one of your biggest concerns. We all want our children to emerge from a divorce unscathed, but even the thought of discussing divorce with the kids may prove a daunting task. National Public Radio (NPR) recently announced that it was conducting a special project on how parents can best explain divorce to their kids. As NPR gathers responses from parents nationwide on this critically important subject, our Austin, Texas divorce lawyers offer some tips on talking to your children about divorce below.

Talk to the Children Together

If at all possible, it is best to approach your children with your spouse. Talk to your children several weeks before the separation will occur. With all children present and both parents there, discuss the upcoming change in their lives with unified caring and concern. Showing the children that you will continue to work together as parents is an important early message when the topic of divorce is broached.

Assure the Children This is Not About Them

When you decide to discuss your impending divorce with your children, it is critical that you convey some vital messages. Perhaps most importantly, you need to assure the children that the decision to get a divorce is an adult decision that has absolutely nothing to do with what the children said or did. Impart the message that no one is to blame, including your spouse, and the children should continue to love both parents without fear of disapproval by one parent.

Accept Their Feelings and Emotions

Children may react to news of divorce with a wide array of emotions, ranging from sadness and anger to curiosity as to what changes this will bring in their lives. Make sure your children have space to express these emotions. Anticipate that the divorce will be an ongoing discussion. Your children will have many questions and you should do your best to answer them with care.

Discuss Your Plan for the Future

You may still be working out your plan for your family post-divorce, and that is perfectly understandable, but the details you do know you should convey to your children. Tell them the basic plan, such as where they will live and when they will see the other parent. Discuss with them some things that will likely change, and reassure them with the things that will remain the same. While talking to your children about divorce is challenging and intimidating, it is an important conversation that needs to be done with planning and care.
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