What To Say To Your Children About The Divorce
Telling your children about a divorce can be one of the hardest parts of the entire process. The most important thing you can do is reassure your kids that it’s not your fault and that they’re not losing either of their parents.
Oftentimes when parents tell their children about their divorce, they are worried about how the child will react. They may be concerned that the child will feel abandoned, or that they will be angry at one or both of the parents.
However, there are ways to communicate with your children that can help minimize these reactions. It’s Best for you and your spouse to talk to the kids together. This can reassure them that you both love them and will always be their parents. PARENTS FOREVER.
If you are dealing with a spouse that is difficult and you are afraid the other parent will emotionally harm your children. Then it’s best for you to do it alone. And it’s best before you make any changes. Divorce can be a difficult topic for children to understand. It is important that you are honest with them, and explain things in a way they will understand.
Many parents struggle with how to best tell their children about divorce. Should they be straightforward and honest, or should they try to sugarcoat the news? And what happens when kids start to ask questions? How do you answer them without further complicating things for your child? These are all difficult questions, but it is important to remember that your child's well-being should always be your top priority.
If something Like infidelity or substance abuse is a factor in your divorce and your kids are asking why the breakup is happening, you may need to offer an answer that is true, but vague. Some of the reasons are private, but the main reason is that we are fighting so much that we are not happy living together anymore.
The adult concerns that are probably driving your decision to divorce are not actually what your children are concerned about. They are much more worried about where your children are concerned.
They are much more worried about where they will sleep at night and who will tuck them in or if they’re older, whether they’ll have to switch schools and leave their friends and activities.
What To Say to 2 to 5-year-old kids about divorce:
Give simple, factual explanations.
Present a unified front.
Encourage your child to share how he or she feels.
Explain that this change is best for the whole family.
Explain that some things are not changing—and will never change.
Let your actions speak louder than words.
For toddlers (age 0 - 3)
Preschoolers: They are learning to cooperate as independent, but still independent. They are learning how to say I’m sorry, learning all about the world around them, they spend most of their time fantasy playing and begin to develop their own identity.
What To Say to 6 to 8-year-old kids about divorce:
They can talk about their feelings
Limited in an understanding of complex circumstances such as divorce
They are developing friendships outside the home especially in school
6-8-year-olds: Can be told Mom and Dad are getting a divorce if the papers have been filed. If no papers have been filed make it clear that the separation could lead to divorce or may simply be a “time out.”
What To Say to 9- to 11-year-olds
They can understand, think and talk about their feelings related to divorce.
They have developed friendships and more developed so you need to plan the child’s time
They see the divorce black or white this is when they might blame you or the other parent for the cause of divorce
9- to 11-year-olds: May begin to show fear, anxiety, anger, or sadness, and it is a time when they miss their absent parent. Some may have fantasies about reconciliation and wonder what they can do to make that happen. They may have difficulty and trouble in the healing process. So they need to understand that those are adult decisions which they didn’t cause and can’t influence.”
What To Say to 12 to 15-year-olds:
• Greater capacity to understand issues related to divorce
• Ability to take part in discussions and ask questions to increase their understanding
• Beginnings of desire for more independence; questioning of parental authority
• Relationships outside the family are increasingly important
How to Break the News
Even when you try to shade your teen from the troubles and obstacles in your marriage, they are likely to pick up on tension and warning signs of divorce. Once the decision to dissolve your marriage has been made, there is no longer a reason to leave your teen in the dark.
In fact, if you hold off there is a chance that he will find out on his own and feel deceived and betrayed. According to a Gallup poll, 71% of teenagers believe that their divorcing parents should have tried harder to make their marriage work.
Telling him early on will also allow you the opportunity to explain your reasons for dissolving your marriage.
Preparing for your Teen’s Future
Divorce can affect the way your teenager behaves socially, perceives romantic relationships, and acts out in rebellion.
They may experience strong emotions and have sudden outbursts at home and at school. Divorce can also impact your teen’s view on marriage and leave him with a negative outlook on the longevity of romantic relationships.
If your openness, love, and support aren’t enough to keep your teenager emotionally stable during this process, you may consider the involvement of a doctor or therapist who can use their trained knowledge to help him manage.
Uncertain feelings about the future
Feeling a sense of responsibility
Keeping anger trapped inside
Nightmares may start
Unpleasant thoughts or ideas
School Grades are affected
Friends may change
Remedy Ideas for Parents:
Read books to your child
Set up a specific time for them each day
Encourage your child to talk
Ensure his or her safety
Ensure visitation with estranged spouse
Encourage visitation if it is needed
Keep an eye on their friends and their behavior
Seek a family therapist if needed