Parents often struggle with telling their children about their impending divorce. Even though it is difficult, it is critically important that you tell your children well before the divorce is official. They need an honest age appropriate explanation of the divorce.
Timing – Tell the children about the divorce at a time when both you and your spouse are going to be around the house for at least several days into the future. It is important that you tell the children together. If possible practice with your spouse in advance. If you are at the point where you can’t be in the same room with your spouse, then schedule time individually with your children to explain the divorce.
In general, sooner is better than later when it comes to telling your children about the divorce. If one parent is leaving the house it is important that you let the kids know in advance of the parent leaving. Provide less lead time for younger children. For younger kids under 5 tell them a couple days in advance. With middle school aged kids tell them a week before. And with adolescent children communicate to them about the divorce at least two weeks in advance. The adolescent children will likely pick up on signals from you in advance, so it is important to let them know sooner and give them time to get used to the idea.
Honesty is always the best approach when telling you kids about your plans to divorce. Give them an age appropriate explanations that will help them understand what the divorce means to them. You can’t share everything with them, especially anger or hostility. However, be sure to be thorough in explaining how the divorce will affect them. It is important that you explain in detail what their living arrangements will be going forward.
Let the children know they are not to blame and that you both love them. And let them know that you and your spouse were in love at one time and that your children were conceived in love.