Among the number of difficult conversations people have when making the decision to divorce, parents must break the news to their children. Often a challenging talk with kids of all ages, having this discussion with younger-aged children presents several unique challenges. From not comprehending the changes or reasons behind them to acting out.
Preparing before talking about their decision to divorce with their younger children may help parents ensure this conversation goes as smoothly as possible.
Share the news at the same time
According to Psychology Today, parents should tell their kids they plan to divorce at the same time. Doing so helps prevent younger kids from finding out from older siblings instead of from their parents. This may, for example, help prevent them from feeling left out or other such emotions that may affect them later in life.
Think about their developmental stage
According to Today’s Parent, at different ages, children have varying needs and understanding about their parents’ divorces. For instance, preschoolers typically can handle basic concepts but need answers about the direct impact of the decision on their lives. Which parent will move out? When will they see that parent again and how often will they see them? School-age kids, on the other hand, sometimes focus on the reason or fantasize about reconciliation. Considering their ages and needs when planning what to say may aid parents in best talking their children through the changes to come.
Watch for warning signs
Sometimes kids struggle with their parents’ divorce, and they need added attention or, in some cases, professional help. Not all kids show their difficulty adjusting the same way. Therefore, parents should keep a close watch for signs such as unusual sadness, anger, anxiety or fear.
Going through a divorce not only takes a toll on the separating spouses. It also affects their families. Working with a legal representative to expedite and, whenever possible, avoid further conflict, may help people limit the potential fallout on them and their children.