Moving forward with the decision to divorce is no easy task for parents.
However, telling the kids about the divorce is often the hardest step of the process. It is a challenge for parents to determine when the time is right to tell them, and even more so for them to figure out what to say.
There is no outline telling how this conversation will go. Yet, there is one universal thing that parents can usually expect – children will have many questions.
What kind of questions should parents anticipate?
When parents inform the children about the divorce, their children will likely ask many questions that generally fall into two categories:
- Why? These types of questions are the most common children ask, but they are also the hardest to answer. Depending on their age, children might ask why parents are getting a divorce or why the whole family cannot live together anymore.
- How will this change their life? The next most common questions that children have revolve around the change divorce will bring. Children worry if they will have to change schools and residences, or if they will still be able to see their friends and family.
Usually, children do not ask all of these questions at once. This is often a prolonged process. They might continue to ask such questions well into the divorce process and even after the divorce is finalized.
Two critical factors parents must remember
Parents magazine points out that there are two important things to consider when answering these questions:
- Be honest; but
- Answer appropriately for the audience.
For example, it is not necessary – or wise, in some cases – to share all of the details of the divorce with children, especially when they ask why their parents are getting a divorce. However, parents must still be as honest as possible.
Answering these difficult questions requires a delicate approach and careful thought, and parents should ensure they prepare themselves mentally and emotionally to help their children understand what to expect for their family in the future.