One of the most difficult things parents and kids can go through is a divorce and telling your child, at any age, is heartbreaking and tough.
Make it easier by having a plan and being aware of the best ways to ease the conversation. Parents should discuss beforehand how they will approach the news and how they will answer questions. Parents and children should both know they are not alone during this difficult time.
If you’re ready to tell your young child about your divorce, try these tips...
- Be conscious of the timing: Make sure you and your partner are sure of your decision before telling your children. There doesn’t need to be any more confusion.
- Tell your child together: You may not agree on many things but you should definitely tell your child about your divorce together. That way, the kids won’t hear just one side of the story and will see it as a decision you made together.
- Tell them it’s not their fault: A lot of the times, kids will ask why and if it’s their fault. Maybe your child got in trouble recently for not doing their chores, and they will ask if incidences like that caused it. Reassure your kids you both love them and it has nothing to do with them.
- Keep it simple: Children don’t need to hear the details and if they’re too young, they won’t understand. Minimize the impact by not talking about it on the phone if they are around or at dinner. And when you tell them, keep it simple. Simply say that mommy or daddy is getting their own place and that they can see mommy or daddy as much as they want. Kids will ask questions so let them know mom and dad won’t be together but their relationship with the kids will always remain the same.
- Allow them to react: Your kids will be angry, yell or storm off to be alone. Let them cool off or react however they choose and answer any questions they have.
- Consider help for your children: Kids may need to talk to someone else besides you about how they feel. Offer them the help of a therapist or a school counselor.
- Don’t promise anything: If it’s still early, don’t promise anything that you aren’t sure about, such as the living arrangements or how often the kids will see mom or dad.