How to Break the News of Your Divorce to Your Child

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediation Orange County; California Divorce MediationTalking to your little one about your divorce can be rightly touted as one of the most awkward and stressful conversations you will ever have with him. It is perplexing for your child to understand the concept of a broken family and why he doesn’t get to live with both his parents anymore. Although, a majority of school going kids are familiar with the idea of single parent families, with their friends or peers having one of their parent living apart, it is difficult for them to accept it as a personal fate. However, by incorporating strategic planning based on honesty and emotional reassurance, you can take the sting out of the harsh reality and make them accept your separation for what it really is.

Break the news on a unified front 

It is best to chalk out a suitable plan with your spouse and talk to your kid about the divorce together.  It is more comforting for a child when he sees that both his parents are together in the decision of separating and have a mutual understanding over it. When both his mommy and daddy tell him that they are separating because of the constant unhappiness in the family due to their conflicts, it is easier for a child to accept the divorce as a practical reality of life and refrain from blaming himself for the split. 

Reassure them of your love 

The one obvious concern of a child witnessing a parental separation is that he will no longer receive their love and care. It is essential for you to comfort your child with simple words of reassurance and make him understand that a divorce will not change your compassion for him. You must make it a point to make your child realize that it is not his fault that you are no longer going to live together as a family. 

Spare them the ugly details 

Sharing inappropriate intricacies of your marital conflicts and divorce will do your child no good and only make the situation worse by leaving him confused. It is difficult for young children to understand how disliking each other can become so grave a problem that you decide to part ways. Bad mouthing your spouse for their unreasonable behavior, or showcasing your feelings of resentment and anger in front of your little one will make the situation even more hostile for him.

The emotional traumas of childhood can stay within the psyche of a child and make him grow up with skewed notions about life and its offerings. It is therefore important to help your child deal with the negativity of a divorce and accept it as a part of life rather than the end of it.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation