It’s best for your kids to find out about your divorce from you rather than another person or your social media profile. Once you and your spouse know that you’re getting a divorce, discuss how to break the news to your kids in a way that’s as painless as possible without delaying it. The longer you delay, the more likely it is they’ll find out by accident.
Plan for the right day to tell them
You and your spouse should consider what date is best to tell your kids that you are getting a divorce. It’s ideal to schedule it for a weekend in which no important events are occurring. This gives your children time to process their emotions. If you find it difficult to talk calmly with your spouse, then you could hire a mediator to help you negotiate a date to tell your kids and how to let them know.
Take a no-blame approach
It’s unlikely you or your spouse would be able to agree on “whose fault” the divorce is. Rather than narrating the details of why you and their other parent are divorcing, it’s best to generalize. You could say, “we aren’t happy together and weren’t able to work out our differences.” Phrasing the discussion as “we” will help you and your spouse avoid going into blame.
Discuss what will change
Children of all ages feel nervous about how their lives will change after your divorce. Older kids often don’t want to leave the family home, their school district or their friends. You should let older kids know as much of the details as possible about what will change. If you haven’t worked out some areas yet, then be honest with them about that. You can reassure them that you’ll let them know once you have more information for them. Also, reassure older kids that you’ll do your best to minimize the impact on their lives. Younger kids feel scared that their parents will stop loving them and leave them. For younger kids, it’s important that you give them a lot of comfort and reassurance that you and their other parent will always love them and take care of them.
Planning the conversation will help it go more smoothly, although your kids may show signs of upset. It’s normal for children of all ages to feel hurt and angry when their parents divorce. They will eventually come to terms with it after having time to process the news.