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Talking to Your Kids About Divorce

 Recently a friend of mine and her husband divorced.  It's been tough on all the kids but especially the younger ones.  I've watched on the sidelines as he and his ex navigate this phase of their relationship and applaud them both for how they are handling this breakup and the change in their family dynamics.

I'm not sure how things work in other states but in our state whenever a couple with children divorces they are required to take a court mandated parenting class.  The course is designed to help the family work through the impending changes in the family structure.
Many thanks to the Cadence Group for providing this book for review

Relationships can be difficult at times and sometimes couples aren't able to reconcile and divorce may be the best option for them but how do you explain this to your kids?  The book, Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children, does a great job sharing a difficult topic in a child-friendly manner. 

The paperback has a lot of text so it may be difficult for little ones to read by themselves but it is something perhaps parents could share with their children.

It's hard for young children to understand what the word means, let alone how it will impact their lives--and it's hard for us, as grown-ups, to explain it to them in terms they can fully comprehend. Nonetheless, when a child is involved in a family divorce or separation, it is crucial that he or she understands and embraces the changes... and this book will help you explain the transitions to your child.

Family Changes is a delightfully informative children's book that tackles a complicated topic in compassionate, child-friendly terms. Ideal for young minds aged four through eight, it features a colorful cast of fuzzy characters led by a young bunny na­­med Zoey, who is struggling with her parents' divorce and is riddled by important questions and feelings your child is likely to encounter.
"Divorce" is a big word...especially for little kids.

In addition to the heartfelt story at its core, Family Changes also offers parents, therapists, teachers, family lawyers, and caregivers valuable information on how to ease children through this significant life change. A comprehensive note to parents and a list of essential child-focused questions are provided to guide the adult and child, and are certain to be an asset to both children and adults involved in the divorce/separation process.

Divorce is common and oftentimes parents may neglect their children's feelings as they deal with "adult" issues.  However, it's important to understand how divorce affects some children and books like Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children can help parents talk to their kids about this difficult topic. 

Have you had to talk to your children about divorce?


Children are always the ones left wondering what went wrong. Good your state makes this class mandatory. Sounds like a great book to use.
Masshole Mommy said…
My kids were so little when their dad and I divorced that I think in a way it was easier for us. We had a mandatory class here, too!
We're not divorced so no we haven't really had to discuss it. I do believe in being honest with my children, so had the need arisen it would have been handled honestly but respectfully.
AiringMyLaundry said…
This sounds like it would be a helpful book for kids going through this. We aren't, but I do have some friends who are so I'll be sure to mention this book to them.
Joanna Brittain said…
This is a topic that a lot of people should discuss with their kids. It looks like a great book to help bring that topic up. Thankfully we haven't ever needed to discuss this with our kids.
Karen Morse said…
This breaks my heart but it's the reality. There are times wherein you can no longer fight for a relationship and divorce is the best solution. I appreciate this ppst very much. It's not easy to talk to kids about it but it is essential.
Jeannette said…
Divorce is such a terrible thing. It rips apart the security that that child thought they had. Something like this is definitely something you have to discuss with them if you are going through divorce. It will help them understand a little bit better.
Our Family World said…
I believe that the children should not be left in the dark to find the answers as to why their parents ended up with a divorce. It is best to reassure them that it is not their fault and that both parents love them.
Pam said…
This sounds like a great book for helping kids understand divorce. It is so important to help them deal with their emotions surrounding it.
My parents are still together so it is so hard to think of what it must be like to have parents who are going through a divorce. These sound like some good tips.
Marysa said…
It's good to have tools to help kids through difficult situations. Everyone works through things at their own pace too, and books are a good way to approach a subject.
It is a good idea for parents to be honest with kids, as much honesty as they can handle. Obviously full details aren't always necessary, but not just the basic either.
Carol Cassara said…
I've been through divorce but I don't have children so I don't know how it's like to have to explain to them how it's going to be from now on. I can imagine the challenge though, and I think this post is such a helpful one for parents who are in this stage right now.
sandy n vyjay said…
Divorce comes with its own anxieties and traumas. Children are indeed the worst affected. If not communicated properly this can leave deep scars in their psyches that can last a lifetime.
chubskulit rose said…
I feel bad for children when parents divorces especially on those cases where both parents cannot get along well. It's nice that they offer that kind of parenting course, we don't have that here in our state.
That's interesting about the mandatory parenting class - I live in Michigan and I've never heard of that before, but I'm not divorced (never married, as of yet) so I wouldn't be surprised if there was one. It sounds like this book can help too. Thanks for the post.
Kita Bryant said…
It is very rough for some kids who have to go through a divorce. It is never easy, but this will help for sure.
Stephanie Pass said…
I would not like being forced to take a parenting course when I got divorced. My children were relatively young when we divorced. We explained it simply and told them we both loved them and they could see daddy whenever they wanted. They adjusted quite well and became happier now that we aren't fighting anymore.
I think it all depends on the age of the children and their personalities, intelligence etc.
So many things come into play but it is important to speak to them in a way they can understand and allow them to be a part of decisions when older.
I think parenting classes are required in my state - or used to be.
penny said…
This is an important topic. Even in an intact family, children sometimes worry about potential divorce; that a fight between parents is more than just a fight. It reflects all that they are takingin when out in the world and how they view other families.

I am glad there are resources out there for families like this. Ina time of emotional crisis it is good to take the time to walk through all the changes and who those changes will impact.
Leah said…
A friend of my daughters is going through a divorce and it is so sad to see how the kids are doing. The oldest is trying to get away with murder and when he gets in trouble, he plays the parents against each other. The youngest doesn't really get what is going on. However, the middle child is really acting out. It's just sad all around.
Paula Schuck said…
Truthfully I don't have these conversations with my kids because we are married and not divorced. But to be 100 % honest as a child whose parents divorced in a pretty messy divorce that was poorly handled by several professionals I feel like this course you speak of would have been wise in some ways. I think the book sounds good too. Anything that helps a child get through the challenge of divorce is a good idea IMO.
Unknown said…
Great information. I have a few friends that are going through this right now. it is so hard for the kids but they are really trying to do the best. I will share this with them.
This is a really hard subject and I bet parents who are going through this are searching for this exact article to help them get through this tough time. This is an excellent resource for those going through it and I am glad to know that there is help out there for this hard time.
I honestly hope I never need to talk to my kids about this subject. As a child of divorce, it’s not easy.
Lisa said…
A friend of mine is dealing with this now and it's taking a toll on her kids. It's a hard topic for some but I do believe having resources available to the children will help. This is a great post!!
monicazyoung said…
This is a very important topic to talk about with kids when things are not going well between the parents. Kids need to know what is happening and understand that the problems between the adults are not related to them. Great post
TwinPickle said…
My brother and his wife split up a couple of years ago and it was really difficult to explain to my then five year old why they were no longer living together. As a child of divorced parents myself, I've also had to explain to my children why they have three Grannies (my Dad remarried). Life is so complicated, and yet in a child's mind so simple. I'm sure this book would really help :)
Marie said…
Not being morally upright, but the only reason that divorce should be allowed is because of adultery, every other reason, I believe should be patched up and talked about, as mentioned, kids will be the first to wonder. But, that's just me, it's a good thing that there are such courses for parents, I believe that even after divorce, mature parents will work it out for the kids - they say: if two people aren't happy together, maybe they're happy apart, just don't let the kids suffer in between...

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