One question divorcing couples often have is how much information to divulge to their children regarding their separation. Should they be honest? For example, if one parent has had an affair that led to the divorce, should the children be told this?
Children, no matter how young or old, do not need to hear all the details of why parents are separating. This type of thinking often turns into a “blame game”, and this doesn’t benefit anyone, especially children, and should be avoided.
Even adult children are not comfortable about one parent talking negatively about the other parent. The children need to know, even though that there will be two different homes now, the love their parents feel for them will not change.
There may be a few exceptions to this. If you are divorcing because of domestic violence, or because one parent has an addiction issue, the children are likely aware of this problem and a brief acknowledgment that this behavior has led to divorce may be appropriate.
Talk to Your Children Together
No matter how difficult it may be for you, it is important, if possible, for you and your spouse to be together when you tell your children you are getting divorced. The two of you can be united when you tell them that your love for them is not changing and that your involvement in their lives will stay the same.
What Children Primarily Want to Know
“Why?” may be the first things a child says when parents talk of divorce, but he/she has other concerns, including:
- What will happen to me?
- Where will I live?
- Will I have to move?
- Will I have to change schools?
- Will my parents be there for my school and extracurricular activities?
They want honest answers to these questions. An honest answer may be, “I don’t know.” It is better to say that instead of making promises you may not be able to keep.