How do I tell my kids our marriage is over?

By Goodwin Como, P.C.

If you think the hardest part of divorce in Pennsylvania is serving your spouse with papers, then you might not realize how vulnerable your children are. There is no perfect way to tell them the news, but if you are not careful, you could do so in a manner that makes it more challenging for them to accept it and move forward.

No matter how old your kids are, keep in mind that they are still young and not capable of understanding the situation like you or any other adult. Older children may not take the news as hard as younger ones. However, careful consideration before, during and after your divorce can help them heal faster.

Introduce the issue at the right time

You and your spouse should wait for an ideal time that you both can sit down and talk to them about the current state of your marriage and their feelings. Set aside a few hours out of your day to talk to them and spend time with them immediately afterward so you can help them process the information and understand the changes that are to come.

Use age-appropriate tactics

The younger your kids are, the less they will initially understand about divorce and its complexities. Explain things in a simple manner to prevent confusion. Confusing your children can lead to them developing aggressive tendencies and acting out because of misconceptions they may have about the situation.

Act respectfully

If you and your spouse are co-habiting before and during the proceedings, always treat each other amicably even when you think the kids are not within hearing range. Avoid harsh, angry, and disrespectful conversations and act as a united front for your children’s benefit.

Keep them in the loop

A common mistake parents make during divorce is not informing their children of the changes that are coming. Many assume their kids are not mature enough to know, others forget to. Children thrive best when there is stability. Be sure to inform them of all changes that affect them to keep them from developing negative feelings about the circumstances that could make the situation much harder on everyone.