Hard Questions About Divorce and How to Answer Them

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by Nicole on May 18, 2011 · 5 comments

in Hard Questions

If you are a single mom due to a divorce, then you may find yourself facing this common question. Kids want to know, “Why does divorce happen?” And, the fact is, they deserve an answer. But answering this on an age-appropriate level that will not lead to unnecessary insecurity and emotional trauma is not always easy.

Keep It Simple

First, keep things simple. There are likely deeply personal concerns that were present in your divorce, but chances are your kids do not need to know about these. Simply say, divorces happen when a husband and wife feel it is best if they are no longer living together and married to each other. You can address fighting, especially if your kids saw it, but you may just say that they no longer feel the same love towards each other.

Address the Personal Issue

Your kids’ world has been turned upside down by this divorce. You need to address the very real and personal concerns they have, such as whether or not it was their fault that you decided to separate. Assure your child that nothing they did could possibly have caused the divorce. It is an issue between adults, not children. Also, make sure they know they could not have prevented it or done something to stop it. Finally, remind them that both you and their dad love them as much as you always have, even if you no longer love one another.

Address the Future

Many kids think they can do something to make their parents fall in love again. Maybe they have seen a movie where this is the case, or maybe they are just hopeful to have their family back to “normal.” Make sure your kids know that just like they could not stop the divorce, they probably cannot “fix” the marriage, but that you and your ex will both make an effort to ensure that you have time with them, even if you are no longer a family in the traditional sense of the word.

Remember, when your kids ask “Why does divorce happen?” they are looking for reassurance that it is not their fault. If you are honest, positive, and reassuring, they will likely accept your answer over time.

About Nicole

Nicole Harms is a freelance writer and a busy mom to two preschool daughters. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from Maranatha Baptist Bible College, but after four years in the classroom she turned in the chalk for the virtual pen. When not researching or writing she is busy chasing her two daughters around or traveling.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Odette May 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Hi I’m a mother of 3 kids, raising them as a single mom now is really quite challenging. I have been separated but not yet divorced. It is really tough specially when your kids ask if their dad would come back. I agree that honest, positive, and reassuring answers will they likely accept but it takes time.

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Denise May 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Sorry to hear about your situations. You aright it is very challenging. There is a good article that talks about how to deal with situations like yours. Here is a link to the article /single-mom-advice-on-answering-the-tough-questions/. Keep us informed with your progress.

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Odette May 23, 2011 at 12:56 am

Thank you Denise, it is a great help. I will inform you with the progress because last Sunday my husband called me and he want to talk to my kids about the divorce, I am afraid that’s why I refuse. I want to talk to him first before talking with my kids. They love him as they love me.

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Denise May 25, 2011 at 8:57 am

You should think about talk to your children together. Of course, that means you will have to talk to him first in private and discuss what you are going to tell your children. I know some women have a problem with this, but remember it is not about either of you anymore, it is about your children. Good luck to you.

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Karen May 24, 2011 at 10:58 am

It is funny how a person can say my marriage is so hard, they have no idea what hard is because they just give themselves a way out… divorce. What a hard marriage is, is when you stick to your husband or wife no matter what through the bad times. That is hard to do, but when things get hard people now just say I need to get a divorce. And the ones that suffer are the kids.

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