How To Tell Your Children About Divorce
Getting divorced is never easy, and if there are children involved, it can be even more difficult. You can make the topic of children and divorce easier by being as reassuring and as positive about the process as possible. Most children are more resilient than you might think and are able to adapt to their new situation, but children handle things differently, and of course you know your kids better than anyone.
One of the most important ways to handle the subject of divorce and children is to be as honest as possible. Children have a right to know what is going on, and the more secretive or evasive you are, the worse they will tend to handle the situation. Children of any age need to be reassured that even if their parents don't love each other any more, they still love their children. It also helps if you and your spouse present a united front and agree on what to share with your children, and how to explain it.
Of course, the ages of your children will make a difference to what you share with them. In general, younger children are satisfied with a simple explanation, while you may have to provide more background and details to older children. A lot of kids are preoccupied with practical issues, such as where they will be living, who will be picking them up after school, and whether they will still get to see both parents. All of these issues should be addressed as honestly as possible, but without overwhelming them with too much information.
Your children may also need reassuring that they had nothing to do with the divorce, and are not to blame in any way. Children may be anxious, stressed or angry when they find out their parents are getting divorced; at times like these they will need all the reassurance and support you can offer, from both you and your spouse. You will need to seek professional help if your child simply can't cope with the pending divorce, and becomes depressed, suicidal, extremely withdrawn or has problems at school.