Five Tips for Talking to Children about Divorce
Divorce can take a toll on families. Children may feel the effects of a divorce long after the marriage ends. In order to help kids get through this challenging time, here are 5 tips for talking to children about divorce.
- Let Children Know As Soon As Possible
Children are very perceptive. They often know more than we think they do. If you and your spouse have been arguing for some time, the children probably already known that something is wrong. Talk to them as soon as possible so you can put their minds at ease.
- Make Sure Conversations Are Age-appropriate
Children of all ages need to be told about the divorce. However, kids of different ages have different needs. Young children need to be reassured that they are loved by both parents. Older children, who have a better understanding of divorce, may have a lot of questions and concerns, especially regarding how the divorce will impact their lives. You may want to consider speaking to a children’s therapist about the most age-appropriate way to discuss the divorce with children of your kids’ age.
- Be Positive in Your Discussions
It is necessary to provide loving reassurance to children of all ages. Although you may be hurt and angry, you need to try to be positive when discussing divorce with the children. No matter how difficult the situation, be sure that your children understand that the problems are neither parent’s fault. Also, be sure the child does not blame himself for the failed marriage.
- Encourage Open and Honest Dialogue
Children often need encouragement when talking about their concerns about the divorce. Try to allow kids an open forum to ask questions and let you know about their fears. If they seem to be struggling with the situation, seek family counseling as soon as possible.
- Remember, Children Are Not Adults
It can be easy to forget that children are not adults. Avoid the temptation to discuss specific divorce matters with the kids, regardless of their ages. Even teenagers will be uncomfortable talking about divorce issues. Kids do not need to be involved in the decisions, and they should be kept away from negative talk about the other parent. Family members and friends should likewise be asked not to share details or negative talk about the other parent with the kids.
Remember that children are impressionable, and need to be comforted and loved, especially during this difficult period of time. They are also very resilient. If they understand the situation, they are more likely to be able to adjust to it. If you are going through a divorce, contact the family law attorneys at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Talking to Children about Divorce, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Jonathan D. Brooks at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.