Divorce can be a difficult situation for all parties involved, especially the children. Many children are confused about the situation and do not understand why their parents are separating.
Although this can be difficult, talking with children is a crucial part of the puzzle when you are dealing with a divorce. Parents often put off talking to their children about divorce because they are unsure how to explain such a complex situation. But a delay in talking with your children can actually make the divorce more difficult for the children in the long run.
When children are suddenly surprised with the divorce of their parents, they go through a great deal of emotions. Many feel as if it is their fault that their parents are separating, while many begin acting out and become angry with others. This is another reason why explaining to your children why you and your spouse are divorcing is very important.
To help you make this process easier, here are six strategies for talking with your kids about divorce. While it may seem beyond your capabilities, just remember that there are ways to make it easier on both yourself and your children.
- Talk to your children with your spouse, if possible. If you present a united front to your children, they may not be as confused about the situation.
- Carefully, and appropriately, explain the reasons for the divorce. Make sure whatever you tell your children is appropriate to their age and maturity level.
- Make it clear that the divorce is not the child’s fault. Many children struggle with guilt during their parent’s separation. Be sure to reiterate that this is not their fault.
- Maintain eye contact and a calm attitude. In order for your children to believe the situation, you must remain calm and truthful. If you begin to get angry, the child may become angry and upset as well.
- Avoid blaming your spouse. Although you will have personal issues with your spouse, they are still the child’s parent. Do not put down your spouse to the child. This will only create more stress on the child, making them feel like they should have to pick sides when they should not.
- Allow plenty of time for children to ask questions. They will have many questions as to why this is happening and what is going to happen in the future, and they deserve to have those questions answered to your fullest abilities.
Remember, every family is different. Talking about your divorce with your children can be difficult, but will be a critical step forward in the healing process.