How to Talk to Kids About Divorce

How do explain that mommy and daddy are getting a divorce? Betsy Brown Braun, author of "Just Tell Me What to Say," reveals the sensitive way you can bring up difficult change in family life.


[MUSIC] You probably know this. But divorce sucks. There's just no way of getting around it. And you will have to tell your child. But I can promise you that after you tell your child you're gonna feel so much better. Because that's the worst part of the divorce. There are a couple of caveats I think you need to know in talking to your kids about divorce, when you break the news to them. Number one most important thing they know is that it was not the child's fault, the child had nothing to do with this. He didn't cause it, it isn't about him, there's nothing he can do to make it better, there is nothing he can do to make it worse, it's not about the child. The second caveat is, even if there is some blame even, if you hate him, or he hates you, or he walked out on you, you can't say it. It's of critical importance that you not have one parent or the other be blamed or be the bad guy. And the third thing is, don't badmouth the other parent. Your kid loves both of you, and when you badmouth the other parent, his loyalty to each parent is questioned. So you're gonna have to really put on that fake face, and not badmouth the other parent at any time. To your younger child, you're just gonna say, Mommy and Daddy, Mommy and Mommy, Daddy and Daddy. Are not going to be living together to be your parents anymore. Of course we are still your parents, but we're not going to be married anymore, and we're not going to be living in the same house. To your older child, you're going to say mommy and daddy aren't going to be married anymore. We've decided that we're not happy living together. And your child will say why, and you'll say well, we don't like doing the same things, we don't have the same ideas. Keep in mind, that what goes on with kids when you talk about divorce is they wonder, what's happening to me? Where do I fit into this? [MUSIC] So your, you need to say to your child and emphasize, I'm still your mom. I will always be your mom. I'll be your mom forever. Dad is still your dad. He will always be your dad. That will never change. There's nothing you can do to make me stop being your mom or to make Dad stop being your dad. We will love you forever and ever and ever. Just won't be doing it in the same house. [MUSIC]

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