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“Son, I have something to tell you. Your mom and I are…”

As a member of the military, you’ve had much harder conversations in the field. You’ve told soldiers that they are going to lose a leg, you’ve informed others that they’ve lost a colleague. Yet, having to tell your kids you and their mom are divorcing leaves you lost for words.

Breaking the news to your children is hard for any divorcing parent. There is no one best way to do this; every family is different, and every child is different. A lot depends on their age: very young children may not understand the concept; older children may have known it was coming. Here are some things to consider before breaking the news:

  • Do it with your spouse: Doing it together sends one message and shows that you and your spouse can sort out issues in a civil manner.
  • Stress that the children are not to blame: Many children, even if they do not realize it, feel that they are to blame for their parent’s problems. 
  • Spare them the detail: The kids do not need to know the ins and outs. Avoid blaming or talking badly about your spouse.
  • Explain how this will affect them: Your divorce will change your children’s lives.
  • Listen to them: Ask them how they feel, listen to them and answer their questions.
  • Continue the conversation: However, well, the children seem to take the news; they will take time to process it. Make sure to have more conversations.

Children will have lots of questions; talking to a military divorce attorney can help you prepare for some of them.