Explaing divorce and "living in sin" to my kids



My brother-in-law got a divorce this past May. We don’t see him much and haven’t told our boys yet (7yrs & 4yrs old). I was hoping that there’d be some sort of reconciliation.

Well we’ve just been informed that he’s moving in with his girlfriend who is 7 weeks pregnant. They have no desire to get married.

What on God’s green earth am I to tell my boys? He’s the “Godfather” to the oldest {technically speaking he’s not confirmed so I believe he’s the “christian witness”)

Thanks for any advice or pointing to resources


well if you do not see him much why tell them anything?
it would seem that he has dropped out of your lives since his divorce from his wife.


I think you should address it in a way that is appropriate to your child’s age and within your Catholic values. When children are young, you can explain that God and we believe it is best for children to grow up with a mommy and daddy who love each other, live together, and are married to each other. You can go on to say that sometimes that doesn’t happen because some parents decide they don’t love each other, don’t want to live together, or don’t want to be married to each other. But we believe that when this happens, it makes God sad and often makes other people sad. You might explain what divorce is, in a very simple way.

I think it is better to explain things to children enough that they aren’t shocked if they do hear about things. Furthermore, as a Catholic parent, you will impart your values best if you start when they are small and add to it as your kids can understand things better. And never discount what they hear in elementary school from friends who have older siblings, or divorced parents, or parents with different values than you do.


I have a similiar situation. My daughters Godfather is divorced from my sister and was living with his girlfriend. My daughter is 7 years old. I have explained things to her in words appropriate for her age, but I did tell her that her uncle is living in sin and this makes Jesus real sad. I had to explain the divorce and all that and she understands it in mind. She knows that her Godfather is not living in God’s grace and has chosen to live apart from God’s laws for he has free will. My daughter is going to a Catholic school and her religion class discusses free will, mortal and venial. They tell her that mortal sin is a very serious sin that separates us from God, but through the sacrament of Reconciliation, the friendship can be restored. They tell her that venial sin is a less serious sin that hurts our friendship with God and we still have God’s grace. She understands all that and used it to help her understand her uncles’ choice. What she doesn’t understand yet is that we pray for him and his conversion and his new wife. She always asks why do we have to pray for them for they are bad? I try to tell her that God doesn’t want anyone to be lost to hell and we have to pray for him to change his ways to God’s ways. She understands it a little. She is very angry at her uncle for she sees his children, her cousins, suffer when they go to his house on his weekends. That is a whole other story.

Don’t be afraid to tell your children the truth. They understand more than we think and as Catholics we should educate them on what is right and wrong. Your 4 year old may need less information than your 7 year old or possibly not need to be told of anything for he is so young.


Thanks for the replies. I think we’re going to do it in stages.

First we’ll let them know about the divorce. Later, the girlfriend. Later, the baby.


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