Galactic Hot Dogs
 
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Breaking Divorce News to Kids

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: How do I tell my children their father and I are divorcing? They know something is wrong; they hear the fighting and see that we don't speak to each other. How do I tell them that I'm the one asking for the divorce?

A: I would need to know the ages of your kids to give the best advice. However, unless they are quite young, they're probably worried about the relationship they're observing between you and your husband. It's unfair, given they haven't been told anything but can clearly see and hear your troubles.

If possible, both of you need to come together on how and what you're going to tell them. They need to be told as much truth (why, when, how) as is helpful for them to comprehend what is about to happen. They need to be told the answers to some basic questions all kids have: Did we do anything to make you and daddy do this? Where will I stay and with whom? Will you ever be together again? Why are you making daddy leave?

There are many books that deal with how parents should approach this situation. Ask your reference librarian for her recommendations. I like Chapter 7 (Separation, Divorce and Abandonment: Telling the Kind of Truth Kids Need to Hear) in Ava Siegler's book, What Should I Tell the Kids? It gives a fine overview of all your concerns and includes reparative narratives (stories with a beginning, middle, and optimistic ending) to tell your kids. A family therapist may be useful to consult before you begin this process. It will help you develop a blueprint that addresses your children's and your family's specific concerns.

This can be a very stressful time. Remember that how you handle this will have a lasting impact on your kids and your actions and words should be appropriate. If you're going to keep up the fighting and blaming, please get some professional help for the children's sake. This isn't a war to be won. It's an awful situation to be handled with as much compassion as possible.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Teens and E-Cigarettes: 6 Things You Must Know
For the first time in a generation, tobacco use has risen among the nation's youth, due to the rising use of e-cigarettes. Learn more about the dangerous and addictive e-cigarette trend, and get tips to talk to your teen.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, brought to you by Galactic Hot Dogs.

Printable Lists of the Top 100 Baby Names
Need help with baby name ideas? Use our printable list of the top 100 girl names and top 100 boy names of 2015 to help you brainstorm and narrow down your favorites.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks