Explaining divorce to children is never an easy task. Even though divorce is common these days and most kids are familiar with it through friends, they dread hearing the ‘D’ word from their own parents mouths. Likewise, it is the discussion that no parent ever wants to have with their children. The following tips will help to communicate the concept of divorce as easily as possible to your children:
- Decide ahead of time with your spouse how much information will be given to the children regarding the divorce. Do not give them any unnecessary information or any let any ‘mud slinging’ take place. Be clear and succinct with what you are telling them, it is a lot to take in. Don’t flood them with too much information or change. Have a plan with your spouse going into the discussion and stick with the plan.
- Make sure that you are giving appropriate information to the appropriate age and maturity levels. You know your children better than anyone and should know what they can and cannot handle. Be sensitive to how much they can handle. Everything about divorce doesn’t need to be dumped on them at once.
- If at all possible, both parents should break the news to them together. Although divorce is common and they may be familiar with it through their friends, they always dread the ‘D’ word coming from their own parents mouths. They need to be assured that although divorce is inevitable, they still have both parents who love them and will be there for them through the process.
- Don’t play the ‘blame game’ with your spouse in front of the children and more importantly, make sure that the kids know that they are absolutely not to blame for the divorce in any way.
- When presenting the concept of divorce to children and all that it entails, allow them to react in whichever way they need to. Some might be in shock if they had no clue this was coming or even angry. Their reactions will differ from one child to the next and they will need time to process what they are hearing. Be sure to set aside as much time as needed so that they are able absorb everything that is being said.
After all is said and done remember that this is a life altering experience for them. Be sensitive to what they are going through and will continue to go through as their life changes. They need to know that it everyone will be ok. There are many outside resources for problems that might arise but most importantly, keep loving them and making them a priority in your life.