The first step in a divorce is for the couple to discuss the changing relationship and the future. Next, divorcing couples with children must figure out how to break the news to their offspring.

According to dating and relationship coach David Wygant in a recent column for the Huffington Post, it is important for parents to tread carefully when talking to their children about separation and divorce. The break-up of a family will always be a difficult thing to comprehend for children at any age, so tact is a must.

For example, speaking badly about the other spouse can leave kids feeling torn, confused and sad, according to the expert. Additionally, negativity can impact a parent-child relationship, causing parents to alienate the children forever.

“The bottom line is you have to break it to your kids, but you have to tell them why and you have to make sure that, no matter what age they are at, they understand that they did not cause the divorce,” Wygant explained.

The Mayo Clinic suggests that parents take the time to speak to children together about the divorce in an honest and simple manner while carefully skipping over the ugly specifics.

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