Divorcing Parents: Be Prepared for These Five Questions From Your Kids

When parents get divorced, their children will ALWAYS have numerous questions. Divorce is not a concept that most young children fully comprehend, and they will seek to learn as much as they can about the impending upheaval that is about to occur in their life.

As a parent, you must be prepared to answer these questions in order to help your children cope with the changes they are facing. Below we have outlined five of the most common you might hear, and how to respond:

“Why?”

The first question out of your child’s mouth when they find out you are getting divorced will almost always be, “Why?” For some parents this is an easier question to answer than it is for others. In fact, some divorcing couples do not fully grasp the answer to this question for themselves, much less well enough to explain it to their kids. Nonetheless, it is important that you are ready with a good answer when your child asks. It is important to be honest—within reason—about the causes of the divorce while also emphasizing how it does not change your love for your child.

“Did I do something wrong?”

As young children grow, they test boundaries and push limits in order to learn, and they must often be told “no” or be reprimanded in some way in order to keep them safe and teach them the proper ways to act. Parents serve as course-correctors, steering kids in the right direction and showing them what is right and wrong. Thus, children become used to being the ones at-fault, so it is only natural that they believe they are also at fault for the end of your marriage. Most children will harbor serious guilt when they find out their parents are getting divorced, and they will want to know what they did wrong or could do differently to change things. It is essential that you emphasize that your divorce is a choice you and your spouse made, and that they do not bear ANY fault for the end of the marriage.

“Do you still love me?”

It is an easy leap for a child to make that if mommy and daddy stopped loving each other, than they might stop loving me too. The single most important thing you can communicate to your kids when you are getting divorced is that both of their parents will continue to love them as much as ever, no matter what.

“Where will I live?”

Change is hard for everyone, but it is hardest on children. They crave consistency and security, and they will understandably probably want to know where they are going to live when their parents split up. Custody and living arrangements can be an incredibly contentious aspect of a divorce, but it is important that you try to have this element figured out before breaking the news to your children if possible. Be open and honest with them, and be open to considering their wishes as well.

“Can you get back together?”

Hope can be a beautiful thing, but false hope is unfair. Your children will probably try to look on the bright side of things and look for scenarios where their parents can get back together. It can be painful for parents to have to pull the rug out from under their kids, but it is important to emphasize the permanence of your divorce so that your children will be able to move on sooner and adapt to the changes occurring in their life.

No matter what questions your children may ask, it is absolutely vital that you, as their parent, be there for them to provide answers and support. In all cases, try to be as honest as you can (in an age-appropriate manner), and continue to reiterate your continued love for your children. If you have more questions about children and divorce, or you are considering a divorce and need legal guidance, please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins today.

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Written by Arnold Wadsworth Coggins

Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins Attorneys is a premier Utah law firm serving the Wasatch Front in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, criminal law, and civil litigation. Our attorneys provide clients with exceptional legal representation and personal attention. With over 35 years of trial practice and litigation experience, we bring big firm expertise at affordable rates