Breaking the News to Your Kids: How to Talk About Divorce

For Maryland parents, telling children about divorce can be one of the most difficult discussions they ever conduct. Before you begin hashing out a visitation schedule with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you need to communicate information about your breakup to your children. Experts say there are several slip-ups that should be avoided when you are attempting to clearly converse about your divorce with your children.

First, do not tell your kids that you still love their mother or father. The adage, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you,” may be excessively confusing to youngsters and frustrating for older kids. The distinction among types of love is a subtle enough difference for adults; inflicting this higher-order comprehension on children can lead to disaster. Instead, focus on the fact that you will never fall out of love with your children, even though you may not want to be married to your spouse.

If you truly intend to divorce, do not tell your children that you are simply “trying out” separation. This will falsely inflate their hopes about their family situation, and the divorce will be significantly more difficult following this confusing statement. Do not give your children hope that you will reconcile if you intend to permanently dissolve your marriage.

Finally, experts say you should not try to portray your divorce as a positive event. This is a difficult time for everyone involved, and children should be allowed to grieve for the loss of their family relationships. Even though it might be a relief that you and your spouse will be able to stop fighting, for example, you should not tell your children that the breakup will be “great” for any reason. This is a sad event that deserves a sober description. Honor your children’s feelings by acknowledging that fact.

If you are just announcing your divorce to your children, you might need the assistance of a qualified attorney to further advise you about the legal aspects of the split. Consider seeking help from a family attorney who can help you integrate your needs with those of your children during your breakup.

Source:, “Telling your kids about the split: The six most common (well-intended) mistakes” Kate Scharff, May. 25, 2013