Talking with your kids about your divorce

In New York and elsewhere, children with parents who are divorcing typically have more needs than other children. Chief among these is the need to be assured that things will be all right and that both parents love them no matter what. Children also need to have their questions and concerns addressed. After all, they are part of the family, too, and their voices matter, especially during events as trying as divorce.

Unfortunately, many parents are not able to give children the answers they want. It is not because the parents have disregarded their children's needs. Rather it is because they do not know how to talk with them about such a grown-up topic. Ignoring the issue will not make it go away and can even worsen the mental and emotional health of the children. Find your courage and use these techniques when discussing the divorce with your kids.

-- Prepare for the discussion ahead of time. Think about what you will say and try to anticipate your children's questions and concerns.

-- Do not lie to your kids but do avoid placing blame. Your children need to know how things went wrong but they do not need to hear their other parent being demeaned or belittled.

-- Remember to tell them that you and the other parent still love them and always will. It may seem obvious to you, but your kids may be frightened by the changes and need to be reassured.

-- Explain that while some things about their lives will change, you and your co-parent will always be there to protect and care for them.

Once the topic has been broached and explored, both you and your children will probably feel better. Remember, divorce is a family affair no matter your age. If you would like more advice about kids and divorce, consider discussing the issues with your family law attorney.

Source:, "Children and Divorce: Helping Kids Cope with Separation and Divorce," accessed March 15, 2016

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