When families are faced with divorce, it’s a life-changing event for everyone. The parents and children are both impacted by divorce. Children are susceptible to even more trauma in the wake of their parent’s split. There are several things parents can do to help their children cope with this challenging process.
How to Tell Them
Children experience a wide range of emotions during a divorce, like anger, anxiety, sadness, confusion, fear, guilt, and more. When parents first tell their children about the divorce, it’s important that they consider what information will help the child understand the situation better. For example, you should be prepared to explain your family’s future living situation after the divorce. Children will have many questions about the divorce, and prepping for those questions will help them feel more secure through this uncertain time.
Two is Better Than One
It’s also best for both parents to be involved in the conversation with their children. It sets up a united front that shows your children that you two are not going anywhere — you are still their parents, and you both love them. By having both parents present, it’s less likely for the missing parent to be seen as the “bad” person or like they were the cause of the divorce. This leads to the child feeling less pressure to choose sides in the divorce, which is never good for kids to go through.
Assure Them That You Love Them
Children know that their parents love them, but they may struggle to feel that way when their parents get divorced. Often, children don’t understand why their parents are not going to be together.
“Why did they stop loving each other? Does that mean they’re going to stop loving me?”
These are common questions children may have internally. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to assure them that your love for them is not going anywhere. You continue to be a family, even if that means you do not all live together anymore.
Speak to Them in Terms They Understand
It’s not uncommon for children to think that they are the reason for the divorce. While this doesn’t seem logical to most adults, children do not have the life experience to understand marriage and relationships. Consider how the situation looks in their eyes and provide your children with clarity in an age-appropriate response.
Explaining divorce to your children isn’t easy, and how you choose to do it is crucial to their well-being. By keeping these tips in mind when you tell your children about divorce, you can start the healing process for your family in a healthy manner.