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How to Explain Your Divorce to Your Kids

The kids are, very much often, the top priority of the family. In times of family trials, like divorce, the most difficult part is dealing with the children. A lot of emotional stress will be involved, which may lead to a problematic child. They can get rebellious and angry. They may come to a point where they blame themselves. Below are some tips on how to handle your children during this difficult time.

Be honest but gentle

 The first step to solve a problem is to state the facts involving the issue. Whether your child is an adolescent or eight years old, it is better to be straightforward in discussing things like your separation with your spouse. This will prevent further problems in the future and would avoid your child from questioning about the divorce from time to time. However, keep in mind that you are talking to someone who can be very sensitive. The last thing that your child would want to hear is that his or her parents are going to live separate lives. Try to be frank but gentle, as much as possible. Carefully choose your words.

Coordinate with your spouse

It is not easy. However, in order to avoid further problems with child custody, talk with your spouse about how to approach your children. This will also avoid biases when the kids hear both sides of the story. We can prevent hatred on the part of the child, which could sometimes be the cause of being rebellious.

Consider the age of your child

Although it was discussed above that a parent should be straightforward, regardless of their child’s age, it must still be taken into consideration when explaining things out. Being straightforward means honesty. And in different age groups, there are appropriate ways to handle the situation. Perhaps, it would be easier to explain it to your younger child than to explain it to a seventeen-year old who is in a more stubborn state, or it could be vice versa. The most important thing is to know the attitude of your child.

Hear out your child’s feelings

One of the most common causes of having a problematic child is lack of communication. It is not enough that parents explained everything well. Communication is a two-way process. You should also listen to them. Encourage them to speak out their heart. Make them feel comfortable with you. In this way, you will know what solutions or alternatives can be provided. It is better not to take an authoritative approach which may sound that you are ordering your child to accept the divorce because they have no choice. This would, most probably, start another issue between the two of you. 

At the end of the day, everything will be better

Let your child feel sad. Let them grieve for a moment. And then help them to move on. You will also have your own emotional breakdowns, so you need to fix yourself first. Talk with your ex-spouse, or soon-to-be ex-spouse, about child custody, visitation rights, and child support. Note that when both of you cooperate, there will be a more positive outcome for your child. It will also be comforting to tell them about the things that will always and forever stay—your love and care for them. Reassure them that it’s not their fault. Also, don’t blame anyone in front of your child. Make them understand that some things would not always work out. Emphasize to your children that, no matter what, they will always have someone to support their endeavors. Remember to walk your talk. Show your child that you can act on what you’ve said. Show them your integrity. 

Things will take a different turn when there is abuse or violence involved. We have legal experts and psychologists who can help you regarding these matters. The best way is to consult them for pieces of advice.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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