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Tips for Talking with Children about a Divorce

By Leslie Fineberg on May 8, 2013

Chicago Family LawDuring the difficult, emotional period of going through a divorce, children often become confused and frightened.  They see divorce as a threat to their security.  According to “Facts for Families,” an information sheet prepared and distributed by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), divorce is a time when, although parents may be concerned about their own problems and priorities, they are still the most important people in their children’s lives.  It is the responsibility of the parents to explain to their children what is happening, how they may be involved or not involved, and how the divorce will change their future.

Children may erroneously believe that they are the cause of problems between their parents which led up to the divorce.  They may even take on the burden of responsibility for restoring normalcy and reuniting their parents.  It is necessary during a divorce to capitalize on the family’s strength.  Children must be reassured that they are not losing one or both parents through divorce.

The following tips for talking with children about divorce are offered by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Chicago family law firm of Nottage and Ward.

  • Both parents should tell the child about the divorce together.
  • Never wait until the last minute to tell children about the divorce.
  • The divorce should never be kept a secret.
  • Explain to the children that the divorce is no fault of theirs.  The explanation should be simple, to the point, and factual.  Do not discuss each other’s faults.
  • Admit your own feelings about going through the divorce.  Explain that sadness and fear of the unknown are normal for everyone involved.
  • Both parents must reassure the children that they are still loved by both, who will never stop being their parents.

If you are a parent who is planning to divorce, contact one of our Illinois family law attorneys at Nottage and Ward.  We can help you obtain a favorable child custody agreement.  Call us at (312) 332-2915 today to learn more.

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