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  • Writer's pictureLori Hammer

How to Talk to Your Kids About Divorce: Navigating the Conversation with Love and Honesty

Updated: Jan 4

Family Law resolutions offer opportunities to make a fresh start and improve your life. For help with your divorce, parentage, including child support and parenting time, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements in Chicago, call Angela Larimer at 773-370-0600 or email Angela at

The word itself hangs heavy in the air, laden with a thousand unspoken emotions. But when you're a parent facing this reality, the weight intensifies. How do you break the news to your children, the people whose entire world you've built together?

The task is monumental, but remember, you're not alone. Here are some steps to guide you through this challenging conversation:

Before the Talk:

  • Prepare yourself: Take time to process your own emotions before sharing them with your children. Find support from a therapist, friend, or family member.

  • Partner with your ex: Ideally, have this conversation together, presenting a united front. If that's not possible, discuss your individual roles and ensure consistent messaging.

  • Choose the right time and place: Pick a calm, private moment, free from distractions and interruptions. Avoid holidays or special occasions.

During the Talk:

  • Keep it age-appropriate: Tailor your message to your children's understanding. Younger children need simple explanations, while teenagers might want more detailed reasons.

  • Focus on love: Reassure your kids that your love for them will never change, regardless of the decision.

  • Avoid blame: Don't paint your ex-partner in a negative light. Stick to the facts and explain that sometimes adults grow apart.

  • Be honest, but not brutally honest: Answer their questions openly and honestly, but avoid delving into adult complexities they may not understand.

  • Prepare for the unexpected: Kids may react with anger, sadness, or even denial. Be patient, validate their feelings, and assure them it's okay to be upset.

  • Emphasize consistency: Let them know their routines and schedules will change as little as possible. Provide concrete details about living arrangements and visitation schedules.

  • Open the door to communication: Make it clear that they can ask questions and talk about their feelings anytime.

After the Talk:

  • Be patient: Healing takes time. Expect a roller coaster of emotions and be their safe space to express them.

  • Seek professional help: If your children struggle to cope, consider seeking guidance from a therapist or counselor specializing in child development and family dynamics.

  • Remember, you're not alone: Many resources are available to support you and your children through this transition. Connect with support groups, online communities, or family law professionals.

Talking to your kids about divorce will be one of the toughest conversations you'll ever have. But remember, this is a journey you're taking together. By approaching it with love, honesty, and an open mind, you can navigate this difficult chapter and build a new, resilient family dynamic.

Remember: Every family is unique, and there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Trust your instincts, adapt these tips to your specific situation, and most importantly, shower your children with love and support. You've got this.

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