“Am I OK?”
Understanding the Emotions Behind
Children’s Questions about Divorce

Kids ask confused boy with backpackso many questions! “Why did you and Daddy get divorced?” “Do you still love Mommy?” “When are we all going to live together again?”  When we hear these questions, we assume that they are looking for literal answers, but in fact these questions are often “emotionally driven” and what is needed is a response that will calm their emotions.

Divorce can evoke  feelings of fear or confusion in children. When they ask questions about divorce,  often they are trying to figure out what’s going to happen and how it’s going to affect them.  The questions can come from a fearful or confused place. Answering the questions literally doesn’t really calm their fears or clear up their confusion, because what they really want to know is “Am I OK?” In fact, telling them details that don’t understand can add to the confusion and fear.

It is easy to forget that children, even teenagers, are not adults. Developmentally they are not able to understand adult love, adult relationships, and the dissatisfaction that can develop in marriages. Even though their questions might make it sound like they want details, always start with the assumption that they are simply asking “Am I OK