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Divorce

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Children and divorce
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Helping your child cope
Holidays and birthdays
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Living alone
Managing conflict
Mediation myths
Mediation: pros and cons
New Lifestyle
Non-Custodial Parent
Parenting Plans and Mediation
Protecting your child
Recover from divorce
Speak with respect
Stop being angry
Telling your child
The power of dogs
Unmarried/Gay and Lesbian Issues
Visitations after divorce
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How to Tell Your Kids About Your Divorce
by Kim Hess

After you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, the next big step is to tell your children.  Here are some tips to help you tell your children about the decision to divorce or separate.

Agree on what you both will say.

  • It is best for both parents to take time to talk about what you are going to you're your children before you sit down to talk with them.  Try to have the same story about why you are divorcing and not contradict, blame, or argue with one another in front of the kids.

Do it as a couple.

  • Try to have this conversation with the entire family present. Some spouses will not be cooperative or amicable enough to do this, so you and your soon-to-be-ex may have to have separate conversations with your children. Do not blame or talk badly about the other parent.

Don't wait.

  • Tell them shortly before any changes are made such as a few days before you or your spouse moves out.

Don't confuse them.

  • Let them know how their lives will change but be patient with them. Do your best to make sure they are not burdened about where they will live, who they will live with, where they will go to school, and who will care for the pets.

Respect their feelings.

  • Be certain to make sure they understand that they did not cause the divorce. Many children will feel sad and believe that they caused the divorce.

Encourage your children to ask questions.

  • Let them ask questions after your initial conversation and let them know that they can always ask more questions whenever they need to.

Delivering the news of a divorce is never easy. It is often hard to cope with, especially for your children who most likely will be shocked, overwhelmed, and saddened by the news of your divorce. 

You can help your children deal with the news by giving them a little extra love, attention, and affection.  Ask a school counselor, a relative who is close with your child, social worker, support group, or mental health professional to help support your children through this difficult time. Don't be afraid to ask for help from others. Your friends, family, and members of a support group can provide a lot of love and support.

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