Announcing your separation or divorce to your children is never easy. Here are a few tips from the attorneys at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny to make breaking the news a little easier:


  1. Although you may want to delay the task to avoid causing pain to their children for as long as possible, it is better to inform the children about the decision immediately.
  2. If at all possible, both parents should sit down together and tell the children about their divorce or separation. Additionally, it is important that you tell all children at the same time. Sometimes, parents will tell the oldest child first to shelter the younger children. This can put a heavy burden on the oldest child to keep such a secret.
  3. You should be as honest as possible. While parents sometimes think that leaving details out may be helpful for their children, researchers have found that children need to know the details and receive truthful answers to their questions in order to cope. At the same time, inappropriate details about why the divorce is happening should be avoided.
  4. Explain to your children what this will mean for them, such as where each parent will live and where they will live. Having all of the information will help ease their minds and prepare them for the change.
  5. It is important to make sure that your children know they did not cause the divorce and they are still loved by both you and your soon-to-be ex.
  6. Don't rush through telling your children. Give them time to react and ask questions. Accept that they may be angry, hurt, scared, or upset. If you don't get through everything you planned to discuss or your children don't want to discuss further, arrange to talk with your children again in a few days.

After telling your children, avoid badmouthing your soon-to-be-ex. This can cause increased fear, anxiety, or sadness. Additionally, keep the lines of communication open to ensure that your children get the answers and support they need.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington