Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates

Helping children understand why divorce happened

Divorce is a difficult circumstance for any family to be experiencing in California. Children especially, may not understand why their parents are choosing to go different ways and are no longer pursuing a relationship together. However, it is critical that parents are careful in providing information to their children that is appropriate for their age level and will not create a foundation for bitter feelings against their parents. 

Parents can and should openly discuss their divorce with their children, but in a manner that does not divulge too many details that are irrelevant for their child's understanding. Parents that carefully disclose their reasoning and then reaffirm their love and commitment to their children will be much more effective than parents who angrily bash their ex and overshare the details of their breakup with their kids. 

According to Parents, when answering questions about their divorce, parents should make sure they listen intently to their child's questions and concerns. This will require patience as their child may have seemingly endless questions about what is happening. They also suggest that parents be honest in their answers, but eliminate details that are not necessary for a child's understanding. 

LiveAbout suggests that parents try to agree on a way to answer their children's questions about why they are getting divorced to create consistency. However, if this is not doable, it is strongly suggested that parents refrain from tearing each other apart or blaming each other for what happened. Keeping content general and avoiding going into too much detail is another valuable suggestion they gave. 

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  • SCBA | Santa Clara County Bar Association | EST 1917
  • State Bar Of California | California Board Of Legal Specialization | Stephen W. Penn
  • Henry P. Collada Memorial Award 2012