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How to Talk to Your Children About Your Divorce or Separation - Our Top Tips

on Thursday, 25 May 2023.

Some parents will have extreme feelings of guilt as they feel they are breaking up their children's family. Some will find it difficult to know what and how to explain to their children what is happening.

For many parents, having a conversation with their children about their divorce/separation can feel very daunting. Whilst your relationship may have ended, it is important that your children still feel that you are all still part of the same family. Families come in all shapes and sizes and just because you don’t all live in the same house anymore, doesn’t mean that they will miss out on quality time with both parents.  

In an attempt to help you with having the conversation with your children, we have set out our 5 top tips below:


  • Treat your children as individuals - if you have more than one child, consider each child's needs and characteristics separately. Some children may be more open to discussions whereas others may find these conversations uncomfortable. Using both age appropriate language and information is very important. It may be difficult for younger children to understand what separation could mean for them.


  • Be prepared - Before you speak to your children, think carefully about what you are going to say. If possible, both parents should either have the conversation with the children together or at least agree on how the children are told. Setting clear boundaries about what the children will or will not know can avoid any disagreements at a later date. It is important to allow plenty of time for you to explain the situation to the children and allow them to ask any questions they may have.


  • Allow the children to express their emotions - All children will react differently. Whether that be tears, anger, fear, resentment. It is important that the children feel comfortable in explaining how they feel to you and don’t supress these emotions. It may be that additional professional support is required for children who are highly emotional or are finding it difficult to express their feelings.


  • Don't apportion blame for the break up - Although this may be difficult if one party feels that it is not their 'fault' it is important that nothing is said to the children that could potentially damage their relationship with their other parent. Behaviour such as this can sometimes amount to alienation and is not tolerated in the family courts. Children can often feel 'caught in the middle' and it is unfair to put the children in a position whereby they feel they have to pick sides.


  • Keep the 'door open' - Hearing the news for the first time can be a lot for children to process. It is important that, after the conversation, they can come and speak to both parents about what is happening. Being open to having these discussions can be imperative to your children feeling supported and heard.


Having these conversations is never going to be easy. By taking ownership of how you are going to respectfully deal with the situation can have a lasting impact on your children and their wellbeing. No matter what happens in your relationship, it is important for the children to feel that you both with continue to be their parents and love them unconditionally.

If you need any advice or support on dealing with the breakdown of your relationship and how you can help your children through the process, please contact our New Enquiries team on 020 7405 1234, or complete the form below.

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