Many people with children get divorced – but divorce can be a difficult thing for children to understand, so parents have to take the initiative and make some explanations.
Where do you start? Here are some suggestions:
1. Prepare for the talk in advance and consider a child’s age
Parents may need to talk amongst themselves and decide what they wish to tell their children about the divorce. Divorce often has a lot of complicated subjects and many children don’t need to hear every detail.
Parents trying to figure out what to say to their children may want to consider the age of their children. A toddler isn’t going to understand how complex a divorce is. A grade-schooler may have some idea about divorce and may need simple explanations. A teenager or young adult may be given a more detailed explanation of the divorce, why it’s happening and what will happen once it’s finalized.
2. Let children ask questions
Talking about divorce can be a lot for children. Children often learn and process new information by asking questions. Parents may want to let their children ask questions. Some of these questions may not have an easy answer. Parents may want to try to give the best answer they have even if the answer is difficult.
3. Give children space and time
Many children react differently when they hear about their parent’s divorce. Parents may want to give their children some space and time after talking about divorce. This time alone may allow children to further process the news.
4. Ask how they are feeling
If parents are concerned for their children after the talk, they may consider asking how their children are feeling. Many children are honest about their feelings and are forward with their thoughts.
Parents going through divorce often have to discuss their rights and custody time. How much parents know about their legal rights may greatly sway the result of a divorce.