Every child is going to react differently when learning that their parents are getting a divorce. Of course, the age that a child is at will determine their understanding of what is going on. In some families, the children may be very aware of what is going on. In other instances, the parents may hide all of their disagreements from their kids. While every situation will be different, there are a few tips that can help kids understand divorce.
How-to Help Kids Understand Divorce: Preparing for the Talk
Planning For It
The best way to help kids understand divorce is to talk about it. Part of how a child will react will be based on how the parents tell their children that they are getting a divorce. Parents should put thought and consideration into how, when, and where they break the news to their children. It may be helpful to have the entire family meet together as a family so that the parents can answer the children’s questions. In this type of setting, there will be less opportunity for parents to blame the other for the divorce.
Make sure to plan a family meeting to have this big conversation. Go ahead and think through and plan out what is going to be said at this meeting. Parents should do their best to stay calm during this conversation. It will be best to plan to have a follow-up meeting to answer any further questions and address concerns.
Things to Say
Children often find divorce hard to understand. In order to help kids understand divorce, keep the initial conversation to the basics. Otherwise, it could get very overwhelming and confusing. The most important thing is for kids to know that their basic needs are still going to be met. They will also want reassurance that they will be able to continue a relationship with both parents if that is something that is possible.
Kids may not understand that a divorce is final, so that is something parents need to discuss so that kids do not have false hopes. It is easy for children to think that it is their fault that their parents are getting a divorce. Parents need to reassure kids that this is not their fault.
In order to help kids understand divorce, it is important to listen to their questions and concerns. Children will have worries about how their life will change, and parents need to be mindful of that. By listening to kid’s concerns and questions will show that the parents care. Parents should not be alarmed if they have to answer questions and give reassurance many times during this process. Also, parents should ask children about their fears and concerns, so that the parents show the kids that they care. It also shows kids that it is okay to be open about those feelings.
Telling kids about divorce is never easy. There are ways to help kids understand divorce. Once they understand it, it will help the transition process to hopefully be a bit smoother.