Blog Details

How to talk to children about divorce?

Two children smiling

Two children smiling

The Impact of Divorce on Children

Divorce is a challenging and emotional experience for both parents and their children. The impact of divorce on children can be significant, affecting their emotional well-being and development. Research shows that children of divorce may experience feelings of confusion, guilt, anger, and sadness (Kelly & Emery, 2003).

How can parents share the news about divorce?

When discussing divorce with children, it is essential to approach the conversation with sensitivity and care. Here are our 6 top recommendations for parents on how to talk about divorce to their children, based on research:

1)Choosing the right time and place. Choosing when to tell your child is crucial. Select a quiet and comfortable setting where you won’t be interrupted, and ensure that you have ample time to answer any questions your children may have (Pedro-Carroll, 2005).

2)Tell your children together.  If possible, both parents should be present when discussing the divorce with their children. This helps to convey a message of unity and support.

3)Be honest and clear with your children. Explain the situation in a way your children can understand, taking into account their age and maturity level. It is important to be truthful without overwhelming them with unnecessary details (Kelly & Emery, 2003).

4)Give them reassurance. Make it clear that your children are not to blame for the divorce and that both parents will continue to love and support them (Pedro-Carroll, 2005).

6)Answer questions and encourage them. Allow your children to express their feelings and ask questions. This helps them process the information and provides an opportunity for clarification (Amato, 2001).

How to help children cope with post-divorce emotions?

Supporting children through the emotional aftermath of divorce is crucial for their well-being. Here are some strategies to help children cope with parents’ separation:

  • Maintain routines and schedules: Keeping daily routines and schedules consistent can provide a sense of stability and predictability for children (Kelly & Emery, 2003).
  • Encourage open communication. Provide a safe and supportive environment for your children to express their feelings and concerns (Amato, 2001).
  • Model healthy coping strategies: Demonstrate positive ways of dealing with emotions and stress, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or seeking social support
  • Co-parent effectively: Work collaboratively with your ex-spouse to make decisions and establish consistent rules and expectations for your children. This helps to minimize conflict and promote a sense of security (Pedro-Carroll, 2005). If you and your ex-spouse need support in co-parenting, contact a psychotherapist in your area.
  • Seek professional help if needed: If your child is struggling with the emotional impact of the divorce, consider seeking the help of a therapist or counsellor who specializes in working with children and families (Kelly & Emery, 2003).

In sum, although divorce and separation can have significant impacts on children, with thoughtful communication and ongoing support, parents can help their children navigate the challenges associated with this life transition. By working together and providing a stable, loving environment, parents can minimize the negative effects of divorce on their children’s well-being.

Our art therapists and psychotherapists in Toronto are ready to help children and adults through the divorce. Reach out to us to find out more about our availability for psychotherapy in Yorkville or Pape locations.


Written by: Raymon Z

Edited by: Reyhane N




Amato, P. R. (2001). Children of divorce in the 1990s: An update of the Amato and Keith (1991) meta-analysis. Journal of Family Psychology, 15(3), 355-370.

Kelly, J. B., & Emery, R. E. (2003). Children’s adjustment following divorce: Risk and resilience perspectives. Family Relations, 52(4), 352-362.

Pedro-Carroll, J. (2005). Fostering children’s resilience in the aftermath of divorce: The role of evidence-based programs for children. Family Court Review, 43(1), 52-64.


Related Posts