3 Tips for Discussing Separation with Children

Unfortunately, marriages end for a variety of circumstances. As you move forward with any type of separation proceedings, do your best to keep the legal affairs, verbal conflict and angry discussions away from your children. Despite how you feel about your soon-to-be-former spouse or partner, your children only see a parent. The most important aspect to remember is to turn your attention to the welfare of your minor children. Talking to your kids about the separation or divorce may be one of the hardest and emotional discussions of your life.

1. Be Prepared

By preparing an outline or rehearsing your conversation, you will feel less turmoil and stress at the time of the meeting. Children can easily tell when parents are upset or in conflict with one another. They just want to know how they will fit into the new living arrangements.

2. Emphasis on Love

If possible, both you and your soon to be ex-partner should talk to your kids about the separation together. Under some circumstances, discussing the separation process cannot be a joint effort. In these types of situations, remember to focus on the well-being of your children.

Understandably, with tensions and emotions running high, sitting down together to discuss separation may be difficult. Children often view adult problems by blaming themselves. As parents, you will both need to assure the children the choice to live apart is not their fault. Emphasize how much you love each one of them. Try to stay positive during the conversation by focusing on the needs of your children.

3. Allow for Questions

No matter the age of the child, encourage open communication. Allow time for each child to ask questions. Depending on the age of the child, answer the questions truthfully without going into major details. Just keep in mind: your children want to feel secure as you go through the transition of becoming single. Always, remember to keep the adult and legal details away from the children. By keeping an ongoing dialogue, children will understand their role in the situation.

Abrupt changes can scare, stress and upset children. As a parent, you must be aware of the effect the changes have on your children. Keeping disruptions in the daily routine at a minimum will help with the transition process. Putting children first in a separation or divorce is crucial for a healthy parent/child relationship. When both parents are responsible, caring and supportive, children will grow into well-adjusted adults.


Featured image: stevepb/Pixabay/CC0


  1. Sandy KS

    I put off many questions my children had when my estranged husband and I separated. As there were to o many factors they did not need to know. As they would not understand. This is my second round about doing this. I do not there is no set answer for every separation.

    1. Rebecca Post author

      I agree there’s no set guidelines for divorce. I believe each single one has unique circumstances.

    2. Sandy KS

      The best thing any parent can do when separated is to place the children’s needs and wants above their own. If a parent can’t do that, they are not being good parents.

  2. Gina M. Menorca

    As a catholic country, we believe that marriage is sacred. but, there is also a case of separation. from what I observed the children are the most vulnerable and they suffered. if only we can prevent this thing to happen. but I’m happy that you think this idea. it is good.

  3. Ceci

    Separation is always hard for the children, open communication could be one of the best way for get the children prepared to it, I think.

  4. Jacky Hughes

    My childen wanted our divorce. They were older and could see it was difficult. They did not want to talk at all. Lately,I have realised how many answers my son still needs. I wish he had been able to ask at the time .

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