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Is your child prepared to deal with questions about your divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Divorce |

If you’re recently separated and moving toward divorce, you already know how awkward it can be to tell friends, neighbors, co-workers and maybe even some relatives about this significant life change. You’ve probably encountered intrusive questions and unsolicited advice and opinions.

If you have a child, it’s important to prepare them to talk to those in their circles, when to stop talking and how to set boundaries. During the summer, they’ll likely be primarily among friends. When they return to school in the fall, they may have to face questions from classmates, teachers, coaches and other adults.

While families come in all forms these days, and it’s not uncommon for kids to have divorced parents, that doesn’t mean your child won’t face negative reactions and numerous questions.

Give them the tools they need

It’s crucial to give them the tools they need to talk to people about it. That’s particularly true if your child is young, but don’t assume that your preteen or teen can handle it.

Here are just a few things to discuss with them:

  • Divorce is nothing to be embarrassed about. A lot of people (including parents) get divorced.
  • They don’t have to answer every question they’re asked. 
  • They shouldn’t discuss topics that their parents have told them are private.
  • No two divorces are alike. Even if another child’s parents had a bitter break-up, that has nothing to do with your family.

It can help younger kids to role play with them so they can practice some brief responses. Make sure they know how to politely but firmly tell people – including adults – that they’re not comfortable talking about their parents’ marriage. If an adult really thinks they need to know something, your child should direct them to you or your co-parent. 

Make sure your child knows they should come to you if someone says or asks them something that disturbs or puzzles them. They may hear stories from kids about how they never see one parent any longer or don’t have any money since one parent left. Kids often repeat what their parents have told them or don’t know how to make sense of their own parents’ break-up.

It’s always best to keep your divorce as amicable as possible while still seeking fair agreements. It’s also important to shield your child from your and your co-parent’s negative feelings and any difficult divorce negotiations. This can help them better handle the changes to your family.