How to Explain Divorce To Your Children
Divorce is a complicated matter for families. Separating couples can be feeling a range of emotions from anger and sadness to relief and confusion. It’s import that parents respect each other and be appropriate in their communication with their children. Discussing a divorce with children should be handled in an age-appropriate manner.
1-5 Years Old
Babies up to preschoolers are mostly concerned with what the divorce will mean for them in physical terms. While it’s important for parents to express their love for the child, what matters most is that the child knows that they will still be taken care of. It’s best for both parents together to describe the divorce to this age group in terms of short details of routines, such as where they will live and how often they will see the other parent. Answer any questions with simple and positive responses.
6-11 Years Old
For the ages of six to 11 years old, parents need to be careful not to discuss reasons for the divorce. This age group tends to look at things more black and white and may place blame on one parent or the other. Discussing concrete information is best, as routines are still extremely important. They are, however, more able than younger children to talk about how they’re feeling, if they are up to it. Parents of this age group should be aware of any signs of stress and indirectly attempt to talk to their kids about the divorce should they see any anger, sadness, or anxiety.
12-14 Years Old
Twelve to fourteen year old kids are more able to understand the consequences of separating. They may ask questions and want to participate in discussions in order to get an understanding of why this is happening. It’s important for parents of this age group to keep communication open. Also, relationships at school and elsewhere become more important at this age. Kids will need to have someone else to discuss the issues with. If necessary, a counselor can help a child to comprehend what is happening to their parent’s marriage.
Tips for All Ages
Informing a child of a divorce is not an easy conversation to have. Parents need to plan the discussion ahead of time so it goes smoothly. To have as little impact on the children as possible, it is recommended parents can try to consider the following:
- Keep a strong relationship between the child and both parents
- Maintain normal routine and rules for the child as much as possible
- Keep divorce conflicts between the parents
If you need help obtaining a divorce in the Austin area, call our divorce attorneys at 512-246-2224 for help.