How do you tell your children about divorce?

Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP

Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beach Florida Parenting Coordinator

People often avoid divorcing and ending a damaging marriage or relationship for many years for fear of the impact the separation and divorce will have on the children. Know that most kids seem to manage divorce as long as the parents manage their conflict between the other. Managing conflict is key and is what often determines whether a child will be impacted emotionally and psychologically by their parents’ divorce. Also, children who have had other life struggles or mental health problems prior to the divorce also may have more trouble with a divorce as their safety net is often stretched thin during the process. The bottom line is that it is imperative that you maintain routines for your children, manage conflict, and ensure they know they are in no way responsible for your divorce. Kids are naturally self centered and believe that everything is about them, so even with a bad situation, like divorce they will think it is about them. Therefore, again, it is imperative that they get the strong message, over and over again, that the divorce is between mommy and daddy being better apart and it not being related to them. Moreover, kids need to know that their lives won’t change in the near future. And parents should try to make this happen. Schools, friends, and the home should not change for the child as these are all mitigating and buffering factors.  Of course, eventually many of these things change, but maintaining them in the beginning while the family faces the initial upheaval, is very important.

If you want to know more about divorce or you need a course for court, no matter where you reside, consider taking our High Conflict Divorce Coparenting Course or one of our Parent Education and Family Stabilization Courses if you are in Florida, Georgia, or Texas.

We also offer parenting coordination, social investigations, parental alienation evaluations, parent fitness evaluations, divorce therapy, and divorce coaching. We will travel for cases if necessary.

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