How To Talk To Your Kids About Divorce
You may be having a hard time dealing with your divorce. But if you have kids, they are feeling the pain as well. Many parents don’t know what to say or they end up saying the wrong things.
In short, you want to tell your kids that both parents will be there to support them. You also want to avoid badmouthing the other parent.
However, what you say and how you say it will vary based on the age of your child. For example, toddlers won’t understand much, while teens will be a lot more savvy. Here’s an age-by-age guide to reassuring your child during a divorce.
Babies and Toddlers
There’s not much you can say to a baby who can’t talk or understand language. However, if your toddler is older and can understand more, you should explain things in simple terms. Instead of explaining what a divorce is, you just need to explain what is happening. For example, you can tell your toddler that she can visit Daddy in his new house. Just keep it fact-based and repeat often.
Do the same things as you would with toddlers. Keep repeating the message but expand on it. Be sure to stress that divorce is about the adults, not the kids. Allow your child to ask questions and answer them as matter of fact as possible. Just be on the lookout for regressions and sleep disturbances, which are signs of stress.
Children this age often know more than you think. They are keen observers of what’s going on around them, so start by mentioning this. The vocabulary you use will depend on your child. Some require simple explanations, while others can handle more detailed explanations. Try to get them to open up and discuss their feelings so they can better handle the situation.
You can discuss more with children this age, as many know that relationships can be complicated. You can give them some information about why you are divorcing, but you don’t need to give a play-by-play. Make them understand that two households with happier parents are better than one household that’s constantly fighting. Also, check in often to see how they’re feeling.
For teens, the same advice for preteens applies. Again, you don’t need to tell every detail, but you can give a lot more information if your child requests it. Also, now is the time to be a good influence. Don’t be afraid to show your emotions, but at the same time, stay in control. Show your kids how to show emotions in a healthy way. Allow for questions and be sure to have regular discussions with your teen about how they are feeling.
Seek Legal Help
You may have a hard enough time dealing with your divorce. Having to talk to your kids and help them deal with divorce as well can be frustrating.
Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can help you and your family deal with the effects of divorce. He can help you cope and eliminate stress. Schedule a consultation today by calling 954-764-4330 or filling out the online form.