How, When & What to Say to The Kids

Of course, you want to make your kids feel safe during divorce — but how do you get this right?

You know what most mothers navigating divorce want? To protect their kids and know how to get them through the process while avoiding the unnecessary spiral down.

How do I tell them about the divorce?

What do I say and where do I start?

When should I talk to them?

How do I keep them out of the conflict?

How do I protect them and make them feel safe?

How do I shield them from my runaway train of emotions?

How do I help them with going between 2 houses?

How do I know they are OK?

The kids (no matter the age) and dealing with their experience of the divorce process, can’t be an afterthought. This isn’t something you can just clean up later. It’s not only a missed opportunity, but it’s also risky business.

For a kid, not knowing what is going on is oftentimes worse than reality. They are living through this too. They can feel the energy of the house and of their parents. The upheaval of it all is toxic, but it doesn’t have to be.

Your job isn’t to wave a magic wand and make everything better (even though I know you want to). Instead, it is to provide them with a safe space to express themselves, and to work through feelings with you.

Life is changing, but remember change isn’t necessarily bad even if you must make adjustments like moving to a new home or town. It’s how we present them and what we do with these changes that matters.

For example, you may have to move to a smaller house — but you can make it a happy, stable, grounded house free of conflict and drama. Doesn’t that feel better already? It will to your kids. And you have the opportunity to create a new adventure out of it as well.

No one knows your kid better than you. You know their triggers. You know things like how they may be having difficulty getting to sleep at night. (And btw, that’s a pretty good indicator that bedtime is not the time for big discussions).

We also want to keep their age in mind and be able to read the room. What does that mean? Well, if the house isn’t on fire, if changes aren’t imminent — take your time telling them certain details until they are concrete. If you start talking about possible new housing arrangements, you may provoke unnecessary anxiety. If you can, wait until you have a clear plan in place. This will also prevent you from breaking promises that you can’t keep.

While there are so many moving pieces and parts in divorce, you always want to build upon a foundation of truth — this establishes a relationship of trust they can always rely upon.

That doesn’t mean you have to share EVERYTHING with your kids. This requires some discernment.

And always remember that bad-mouthing the other parent (even if it's the truth) is hurting your kid. Keeping that in mind will help you hold back because the last thing you want to do is add salt to their wounds. Your kids are counting on you right now.

To that point, let me share a few sobering statistics:

 Children of divorce are…

  • 2x more likely to drop out of high school
  • 3x more likely to develop mental health issues
  • 2x more likely to attempt suicide
  • More likely to see performance drops in school
  • More likely to experience social and behavioral issues
  • More likely to fall into substance abuse

I know these are harsh potential outcomes, but it reinforces what’s at stake here long-term. That said, you DON’T have to become another sad statistic. That’s why you’ll want to seek help where you need it.

It’s also not going to happen to you, momma, because you are here — seeking advice and guidance so that you can make conscious, grounded, heart-centered, intuitive choices for you and your kids. Even if you don’t know the answers to all of your questions (and don’t worry, no one does) — you are taking the steps to lean into doing the best you can to show up for your kids — and to get this right.

This is something you will never regret. I know.

—Kristen Noel, Certified Intuitive Divorce Coach | Editor-In-Chief, Best Self Magazine



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