How to Explain Divorce to Your Children
Many close friends and family members will try to give you advice on how to deal with your divorce. One of the most difficult matters to deal with is telling the kids. It may be tempting to put it off for as long as possible, but prolonging the process will not prevent you from getting divorced. Thus, it is best to make a plan for how you will present a divorce to your children.
My experiences speaking with older children whose parents have gone through a divorce have given me an insider’s perspective on how children respond to and deal with divorce. Several main factors should be considered when telling your child about the divorce.
First, your kids will feel strongly about the divorce no matter how you present the divorce to them. It is very important to tell them your reason(s) for separating. Though responses may vary, your children will want to know why you are getting divorced.
Children of divorce will cope in various ways, depending on how they feel about their parents’ marriage. Some kids will go through a period of emotional turmoil because their lives change drastically as a result of the divorce. Other kids may not be as affected because they understand the reasons for their parents’ separation and are supportive of the change.
Studies suggest it takes around two years for children to acclimate to a divorce, but it is important to remove your children from conflicts between you and your spouse. Additionally, openness and honesty seems to help ease the transition for kids, which is why is important to approach the topic of divorce with clarity and timeliness.
Moving forward, it is best to keep your children abreast of important changes. Divorces are difficult on everyone involved, and it will make your child’s life easier if they know the logistics of the separation.
When creating a plan in which you will explain your divorce, it is best to keep certain guidelines in mind. Mainly, you must exercise caution when considering your child’s age as they may not always understand or take information well at certain points in their lives. Additionally, you should be honest, open to discussions about divorce, and avoid depending on your children for emotional support.
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Leyla Balakhane is a Family Law Mediator in the Los Angeles area
and can be reached at 424.235.4173