Going through a divorce is one of the toughest challenges anyone can face. It is even more challenging when you have kids and dread having to tell them about the divorce. To help you with this, the team at Haywood Hunt & Associates Inc has compiled the top questions kids ask about divorce and added pointers on how to address them below.
Why are you getting a divorce?
Kids will always ask why and the real answer is always too complicated to share. The best response is to say that divorce is a way for everyone to be happy because mom and dad can’t be happy together.
Will you two get back together?
You can’t take it away from your kids to hope that divorce is temporary. The best way to respond to this is to say that you honestly can’t tell and that it is most likely no but that both parents will still be there for the kids.
Can we still live as a family?
The younger the kids are, the more likely they are to ask this. Simply say that they will have two homes from now on instead of just one.
Can we still live here?
Children fear change and they would be scared of losing their friends, their things, and everything familiar to them. The best answer will be what the plan is. If you will be moving then tell the kids that you’ll be moving and ask them where they would like to move. If not, then just say it.
What will happen to me?
Your family is often the majority of your kids’ world. It is only natural for them to ask what happens to them when their parents decide not to be together anymore. The best response would be not giving false hope and just stating the truth, that both parents still love them the same way and will be there for them.
Is it my fault?
It is expected that a problem child or perhaps a very young child will think that the divorce is their fault. The best response is to say that no, the divorce is a decision both parents think is the best and that it was not caused by anything the child did.
What if I don’t want you to be divorced?
Some kids think that by putting their foot down, they can somehow stop a divorce. Respond to this by saying that although divorce is not ideal and though it is very hard for everyone in the family, it is the best path so everyone can have a happy life and future.
How about my brother? How about my sister?
Most kids will not want to be parted from their siblings so the best response should focus on still being together (if one parent is getting custody) or that they would be together most of the time (if custody is split between parents).
Will I go to the same school/have same nanny?
Kids will worry about change and it is your job to teach them that change can be great. Tell them that they will get to meet new friends if moving schools or needing a new baby sitter/nanny because of relocating.
When are you divorcing?
It is best to let the kids know more so if they are older. They will need time to say goodbye to friends if moving away or just to process their emotions if you’ll be staying in the same place. They have a right to know what is happening and when.