Talking to Kids about Divorce

Divorce is such a common thing in this country that it's bound to affect your kid's life in some way. Even if you aren't divorced chances are you and your child know someone who is. Whether it their friend's parents, their grandparents, or just a neighbor, your kid will probably learn about it at a pretty young age.

My parents are divorced and both are remarried. My grandparents on my mother's side are divorced. My great grandfather divorced his first wife back in the 1920s. Someday I will have to explain to Avery why she has 4 grandparents on my side. So when I saw this article about how a father told his son about how his dad left his mom I was intrigued.

He didn't really plan to talk about it. He was working in the yard with his son, Tristan, and the boy wanted to go off and play. In an effort to get him to focus on the task at hand he casually said “My dad wasn’t around when I was a kid. I’d have loved to help him unload dirt.” Tristan was suddenly curious and asked his dad what he meant. Then all of the "why", and "what's cheating?", and "who's Grandpa Kent if he's not your dad?" questions came out. He answered as best he could, but was a bit shocked at how unprepared he was to talk about it. Divorce had been such a part of his own childhood it didn't occur to him that it could be such a foreign concept to Tristan.

I don't know if I'll plan some serious sit down with Avery to explain the situation about my parents or if I'll wait for her to bring it up. Either way, this article made me realize that I should think about it a bit more.

Have you talked to your kids about divorce? How was the conversation brought up and what did you say? How did they react?…

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        I only vaguely remember my parents' divorce. I do know they never talked to my brother and I about it. All we knew was that mom and dad didn't love each other anymore and spent all their time fighting with each other. When my mom moved us out to her dad's house, all she said was we couldn't live with our dad anymore and that was that. Sure, NOW I know all about it, but back then we weren't told anything. It was just something that happened and we had no say in it. We -had- to move out away from him. We -had- to see him on certain days, though it was still barely at all. We -had- to tell our mom what we did while we were with him. And so on. We knew my grandparents were divorced, just like we knew my dad's parents weren't his real parents (he was adopted). We were never told the "why" of anything. That's just how it was, so we accepted it.

        I don't know what I would tell Nina if she ever asks why she doesn't know her grandpa jim (my dad)...As far as I'm concerned, her only grandpas are my step-dad and my husband's dad who died a long time ago. I can't imagine my husband and I getting divorced...if I ever did have to explain it, I'd try to do a better job than my parents did.
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          Amy Phroper
          My kids know what divorce is from other family members being divorced. When my sister and her husband got divorced the kids didn't understand why he wasn't there when they would go and visit my sister. My kids also know that my daughter has a different dad then they do. It was a lot of why and questions and we just answered as best as we could so they would understand.
            I'm the author of "The Day I Told My Son That My Father Left me." This is a wonderful response to my essay. Thank you!

            Clint Edwards
            About Taylor
            Current: Chanhassen, Minnesota
            Birth: July 26
            On since: Dec 18, 2013
            I'm the proud mama of my daughter Avery, born on June 6, 2013. I'm 26 years old, I work from home as a graphic designer, I will be testing for my 5th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do in 2015. My husband, Derek, and I have been happily married for 3 years.