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How can I talk to my kids about divorce?

If you’re facing a divorce in Minnesota, talking to your kids about the matter can be one of the most difficult aspects. Communicating to your children effectively will lessen the emotional impact while also reassuring them in their time of need. HealthyChildren.org offers the following tips on how to break the news to your kids.

Emphasize safety & security

A child’s feeling of safety is often threatened by the prospect of divorce. This is especially true when significant changes to routine occur or when one parent moves from the family home. Because concerns about safety are traumatic for many kids, it’s crucial that parents emphasize security. Answer any questions your child has honestly and be forthcoming about the changes that are about to occur. Above all else, emphasize how much you and your former spouse love your kids and that you’ll always be there for them.

Keep it simple

While honesty is important when talking to your children about divorce, avoid giving too many details. Your kids don’t need to know the exact reasons why your marriage failed, particularly when they’re younger. Very small children won’t be able to understand the complexities of an adult relationship and may take your statements to heart. For the same reason, refrain from badmouthing your spouse to your kids, as this negative language may be internalized.

Let them know it’s not their fault

Lastly, make sure your children know that they bear no responsibility for the divorce. Many kids immediately assume responsibility for what occurred, to the point that they blame themselves for the dissolution of your marriage. Explain that despite the split both you and your ex love your kids and remain committed to providing them the happiest life possible. When delivering this message, having your former spouse by your side is often reassuring to children.

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