Kids are blunt when they talk about why parents shouldn’t get divorced



I have worked with children of divorce for over forty years. I’ve heard some conversations that would curl your hair. I’ve also heard stories of tenderness and tales of heartbreak.

Several times I have asked children of divorce, “If you had a chance to tell your parents, and other adults something about divorce, what would you say?”

Some kids are blunt and say, “Don’t do it! Just don’t do it!”

They say it so emphatically that very often it stuns me to hear such harsh voices coming from these little people.

One thing that is consistently true is that virtually all of the children of divorce that I have ever worked with have something to say about the divorce of their parents.

One 2nd grade boy said, “Don’t get a divorce. It’s really hard on the kids. They don’t understand what is happening.”

A 3rd grade boy had this to say, “Divorce is really confusing to kids. Everybody thinks the kid understands and knows what’s happening, but I’d say just remember that kids don’t know and they don’t understand and they get confused because no one explains anything.”

This next conversation was from another 3rd grade boy. The divorce of his parents was relatively new to him, and he could only talk about how much he was hurting. I believe it was his way of expressing some of the things he wanted adults to know but his own sadness got in the way. “I really miss my dad. See we used to go to the video store and he would put his hand on my shoulder and we would pick out a movie to watch. Now I am really lonely for him because he’s not there to take me to the video store and help me pick out a movie.”

When I asked him if he wanted adults to know that divorce made a child feel lonely he looked at me with those dark brown sad eyes, hung his head and said softly, and replied, “Yes. That’s what I was trying to say. I just didn’t know how to say it.”

One 6th grade girl told me, “My brother and I are okay now, but it’s been hard. I know both my mom and dad love me, but I still miss my dad at home. And, I would want to tell the parents not to put so much responsibility on the kids. I have to take care of my little brother all the time now and do a lot of work at home.”

One 5th grade girl said, “If you are a parent and you get a divorce then you have to send your kids to DC4K or someplace where your kids can get some help and be around other kids whose parents are getting a divorce.”

One particularly mature 2nd grade boy once told me, “For a long time I thought I was the only one that had parents getting a divorce. I’d look around at school and at church and I thought every kid had both parents still at home. I didn’t realize other kids had parents that were already divorced. I’d say tell parents to let their kids know they are not the only ones with divorced parents.”

Divorce hurts.


  • Try to look at the divorce through the eyes of your child
  • Be patient with your child and don’t forget to talk to them about what’s happening
  • They don’t need to know sordid details
  • They need to know where they are going to live
  • They want to know who they are going be spending time with
  • The long to know when they will see their other parent
  • They need reassurances that they are safe and  you will keep them safe.

Church leaders

Church leaders need to be cognizant about how much divorce hurts children.

Next Sunday, look at the kids in your groups and classes and pray for their comfort! Many times we forget to pray for children’s comfort.

  • Pray for their feelings of loneliness
  • Pray for their confusion
  • Maybe even put your hand on a young boy’s shoulder so he won’t feel so alone
  • While you might not be able to help him pick out a video, perhaps you could begin a conversation about what movie you’ve seen recently

Many children I’ve worked with are now grown and they are finding me on Facebook. They want to connect with me, someone from their childhood. It’s a strange connection we have because it’s a connection about their parent’s divorce.

What about you church leader? Will children of divorce seek you out in their adult years because you were there for them today?

What about you Mr. or Ms. Single Parent? Will your kids fondly remember their growing up years in a divorced home and how you helped them get through this time in their lives?

If you are an adult child of divorce what do you have to say to couples thinking about divorce today?

7 thoughts on “Kids are blunt when they talk about why parents shouldn’t get divorced

  1. Thank you so much for all of your wisdom!!
    I really appreciate every article.
    I’m looking for a couple articles for Grandparents?
    Thanks, Luana

    • Thanks for your support Luana. When looking for the Grandparent articles go to the home page of Look at the top of the page for “Categories.” When you click on Categories, you’ll see a drop down menu and “Grandparent” articles can be found there. Click on “Grandparents” and then on any article you’d like to read. If there is something specific you’d like for me to research or write on, email me and let me know. You can email me from “Contact” section.

  2. Hi so glad that you having being posting about grandparents. I have found them so usefubecause 2 of my grandchildren are going through divorce right now and it has become real to me that I have a huge role to play in their lives and I want to make it a positive one. I will be speaking to the oldies in our church about “Grandparenting kids of divorce” hoping that those in the same position as many of us will be helped. The comments on this particular posting will be very useful.
    So, thank you!

    • Mal thanks for commenting. Your comment got me to thinking and I wonder what kids would want to say to their g’parents when the parents divorce. Good to hear from our friends across the sea!

  3. Sometimes divorce is necessary. Mine was. I didn’t tell my children the reasons until they were adults. My ex- was involved in highly illegal and immoral activity.

    Yes, they struggled at first when it happened, but that shouldn’t stop a person from divorcing if the reasons are heinous.

    • Anonymous, I don’t think anyone is faulting you for getting a divorce. The author, in fact, didn’t say that people shouldn’t get divorced in this particular piece, unless I missed it. However, divorce does cause turmoil in children, even when bad things are happening. Please forgive me for saying so, but it seems you might be projecting a bit of your own guilt at the outcome of your marriage.

      DC4K is a Christian organization, so I am sure their stance is that divorce isn’t preferable. However, I- and I am sure many- Christians understand that like it or not, divorce is a part of life. For myself, I know that if my husband ever abused me or my children, I would divorce him. I likely would if there was adultery, too, though I am not certain. In my opinion, the first and foremost goal is to protect the kids. If your marriage was detrimental to them, I don’t think anyone should blame you for making the choice to keep your children safe.

      However, this article is very good at showing just how negative an experience it is for kids- even when they don’t understand that it might be for their own good. It gives such great, practical tips for the adults to meet kids at their level and help them through such a hard time. We all go through difficult stuff in life. It can’t always be avoided. Yet looking at this as the difficult event that it is for children can help to ease the pain as much as possible.

  4. Pingback: DC4K » Have you encountered kids who actually wanted their parents to get a divorce?

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