How Should I Communicate With Our Children About Divorce?

May 7, 2024  | 
By: Chad Layton, Esq.

mindful divorce communicate children about divorceParenting through a divorce is a challenging time that requires you to be honest with yourself, and to put in the extra work to help your children work through the major changes in their family structure.

Here are some tips and helpful questions to ask if you are a parent that is working to help your children through your divorce:

1. Don’t Ask Your Children To Be The Parents.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to let your children parent you.    Are you using your children as confidants, sharing information only an adult should know? Are you asking your kids to be messengers for you with your spouse? Are you asking them to spy for you about what’s happening with your spouse? Giving children these responsibilities robs them of their childhood and their innocence, even when they are teens or older. Be very careful with your words and expectations for your children at all times. 

2. Prioritize Openness and Honesty.

Honesty forms the foundation of trust, especially during challenging times. Strive to be open and honest with your children about your divorce, providing age-appropriate information while avoiding blame or negativity towards your spouse. Reassure your children that they are loved and that the divorce is not their fault. Encourage them to ask questions and express their feelings, creating a safe space for open dialogue.

3. Maintain Consistency and Routine.

Divorce will bring significant change to your child’s life.  This can easily lead to feelings of instability and uncertainty. Maintain consistency and routine as much as possible to provide a sense of security amidst the chaos. Work with your spouse to establish a consistent schedule for communication and overnights with each parent, including regular check-ins, and shared activities is appropriate for your family. Consistency helps children adjust to the new family dynamic and fosters a sense of stability during the transition.

4. Listen Actively and Empathetically.

Listening is a crucial aspect of effective communication, especially during a divorce. Take the time to listen actively to your children’s concerns, validating their feelings and offering empathy. Avoid interrupting or dismissing their emotions, even if they express anger or sadness. Empathetic listening helps children feel understood and supported, strengthening the parent-child bond during this challenging time.

5. Communicate Respectfully with Your Co-Parent.

Healthy communication between co-parents sets a positive example for children and reinforces a sense of cooperation and respect. Keep conversations with your co-parent focused on the needs of your children, maintaining a respectful tone even in the face of disagreements. Utilize tools such as family therapy, individual therapy, or parenting communication classes to help you develop this skill.  By modeling respectful communication, you and your co-parent can demonstrate to your children that despite the divorce, you are still a family.

6. Be Mindful of Your Non-Verbal Communication.

Non-verbal cues such as body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions can convey messages as powerful as words. Be mindful of your non-verbal communication when interacting with your children, ensuring that it reflects patience, understanding, and empathy. Maintain eye contact, offer reassuring gestures, and watch for signs of distress or discomfort in your children’s body language. Non-verbal cues can either reinforce trust and connection or exacerbate feelings of anxiety and insecurity.

7. Seek Professional Support.

Divorce is an emotionally challenging experience for you and your children.  There are many benefits that you can reap from working with professionals to help you through the process of divorce.  Consider enlisting the help of a family therapist or counselor who specializes in divorce-related issues. Therapy provides a safe and supportive environment for children to process their emotions and learn coping strategies for navigating the changes in their family dynamics. Additionally, parents can benefit from therapy to work through their own emotions and learn effective communication strategies to support their children.  Here is a link to local mental health professionals trained in collaborative divorce: choose collaborative

8. Reassure Your Children of Your Unconditional Love.

Amidst the upheaval of divorce, your children may worry about their relationship with you and whether they will continue to be loved and supported. Reassure your children of your unconditional love, emphasizing that the divorce does not change your feelings for them. Express your commitment to being there for them, no matter what, and reassure them that both you and your co-parent  will continue to play an active role in their lives. Affirming your love and support helps your children feel secure and valued.


In conclusion, effective communication is essential between you and your children.  By prioritizing openness, honesty, and empathy, you will create a safe and supportive environment for your children to express their feelings and to adjust to the changes in your family dynamics. Maintaining consistency, respectful co-parenting, and seeking professional support when needed further strengthens your bond with your children.  Through patience, understanding, and unwavering love, you will help your children move forward with resilience and hope for the future.

Mindful Divorce, P.A.

If you, or a friend of yours, has questions about how to put your children’s best interest first in your divorce in Palm Beach County, we are here to help.

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