Marriage is a common rite of passage for many, and when you got married, you likely never saw yourself getting divorced. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2017, half of Americans over the age of 18 had a spouse.

You may have many concerns about the impending divorce process, but one of your biggest is likely how your children will react. The following strategies can help you break the news effectively to your children about ending your marriage.

Before the conversation

Sit down with your spouse and determine exactly what you will say to your children when you tell them about your divorce. If it helps, you may want to write out a script that outlines important issues you want to talk about.

You should also find a time to tell your children about your divorce all at once. Additionally, make sure this conversation happens independent of a big event, like right before one of your children’s birthdays, for example.

During the discussion

When you tell your children about ending your marriage, avoid placing blame on your spouse for how certain events transpired. Be open and honest with your children about what is happening and what their future will look like moving forward.

Prepare yourself for your children to experience a variety of emotions, ranging from anger to hurt to sadness to rage. Your children may also experience different emotions as time passes, so remain open to helping your children cope with this change as you move forward with your divorce.