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How to answer your kid's questions about your divorce

Going through divorce can be complicated, especially for couples who have children. Many parents find it difficult coming to the decision to get a divorce because they don't know how it will impact their children. Once parents do decide to get divorced, telling the children can be just as difficult.

When telling children about the divorce, parents should try to comfort their children during this time when they may feel like their family is falling apart. Depending on the child's age, parents should be as open and honest as possible about why they are getting divorced, keeping in mind everyone's feelings and how the divorce will impact the family's relationship.

Children often ask their parents many questions after learning that they are getting divorced. Parents should be prepared to answer these questions and know that most kids just want to know that their parents will still be there for them and that their life will stay the same.

Below are some of the most common questions children ask their parents about their divorce and what parents should consider when answering these questions:

  • Why? Most children will ask their parents why they are getting divorced. Parents should answer this question and make sure they tell their kids that they will continue to love them and the divorce will not change the love they have for them.
  • Is it my fault? Many children, especially younger kids, blame themselves for their parents splitting up so parents need to tell their kids that they are not to blame for their divorce, and they might need to reinforce this throughout the divorce process and after the divorce has been finalized.
  • Where will I live? Parents should discuss a parenting plan and where the children will temporarily live before child custody is determined during the divorce process. Having a temporary living arrangement figured out before you tell the kids about the divorce will make it easier on everyone.

Kids will have more questions about the divorce so parents should be prepared and consider all the ways the divorce may impact their children and address their questions with compassion and care to help ease the stress and fears they may have about the divorce.

Source: Huffington Post, "Children of Divorce: How To Answer Their Three Most Important Questions," Adriana Velez, July 6, 2013

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