How to Talk to your Children about Divorce

| Divorce Legally Speaking | April 8, 2020

Children are very Inquisitive

“Does Timmy have two dads?” “Does he have two moms?” Have you heard these questions from the mouths of young children? If so, perhaps you have struggled with how to discuss a dissolution of marriage with your children and explain about friends’ families. Or, maybe you are concerned about discussing your own situation with your children. Maybe the question you’re getting is “Why doesn’t mommy live with me all the time?” or “Why do I have two homes?”

Little children are great at asking questions about anything and everything.  Sometimes parents have the answers, but oftentimes they don’t.

 

The So-Called “Non-Traditional” Family

While, I am not a child psychologist or counselor, I see this situation over and over as a family law attorney. If this is your situation, meaning if you are the one with a so-called “non-traditional” family, generally children will respond to the situation as it is presented to them. If this is the new norm and they are okay and loved by all, they will usually be okay. If one parent complains to the child about the child having to go to the other parent’s house, the children are likely to respond in kind.

Most children’s counselors that I talk with discuss that the parents, whether they are together or not, need to present a unified front to the child. A child should not ever be told why the parent’s marriage ended. Children do not ever need to know and should not be involved in their parent’s dissolution of marriage. Children need to know that there is a team of people working to create the very best situation for them – whether it is a team comprised of just the parents or a team of parents and a counselor or psychiatrist. In discussing with counselors, most also opine to me that children should never be told to decide where they want to live. A child’s view of the world is very different than an adult’s. If a child says that s/he wants to live with mom or dad, is it because they think they won’t have to attend school or do homework at that parent’s house? Is it because one parent has more video games than the other? Or, in cases of teenagers, is one parent more lenient with curfew than the other?

 

Having concerns about what is okay to say?

Talk with a child counselor. They are a wealth of information, even if your child does not ultimately see that counselor.Having concerns about what is okay to say? Talk with a child counselor. They are a wealth of information, even if your child does not ultimately see that counselor.

And if it’s your child’s friend who has the blended family, then in my humble opinion, it’s fine to say, “Yes, Timmy has two mommies, two daddies and two houses. Everyone is different and let’s remember that Timmy loves all of his parents!”

 

Consult with an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you have questions about talking with your children about your particular situation, consult with an experienced family law attorney.

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The attorneys of Duenas Eden Law we are experienced and trusted lawyers focusing on Family Law including; Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. We are Family Law Attorneys servicing Laveen, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

, How to Talk to your Children about Divorce, Duenas Eden Law
By Dorian L. Eden
Adapted from the original published article in the March 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living
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