How to explain divorce to children
It is hard to know how to talk about divorce to children. However, research has shown that talking about this topic with them brings a great help to children. Explaining the separation helps them to make sense of what is happening in the family.
Speaking to their children, adults can help them understand the tension between their parents, why their father leaves the house, or the misfortune and anger of the other.
It is common for children to feel that they are somehow responsible for things that go wrong. It can be comforting for them to tell them that their parents had problems and that it was not their fault.
Explaining divorce to children can give answers to some of these questions. Explanations can also help respond to questions that children do not even know.
Remember that divorce is confusing for children. The first time you speak with them, discuss only the most important and immediate questions. Children need to know that their human needs will be satisfied. They need to know someone will prepare them breakfast again in the morning, read them books and line them in his or her bed at night.
Children also need to know that their relationship with both parents will continue.
Explain that they are not guilty
Tell your kids that divorce is not their fault. Many children who are 4 or 5 years of age or older believe that divorce is the result of something they have done. For example, some kids may think that parents divorce because children behave badly or have poor grades in school. Children need to be told again and again that they are not responsible for the divorce.
Explain that divorce is permanent
Make it clear to your children that their parents will no longer be together. Children need to know that they can not save or restore the marriage. At certain ages, children can also invent stories in which their parents recover together. It is okay to pretend but explain to your children that their parents are separated. This can help children move forward and accept changes that may occur in their lives.
Explain that parents’ love for them will not change
This helps children understand that the love shared between a parent and his child is special. It is different from the love shared between a spouse and a woman. Husbands can divorce, but parents always remain parents. Children need to know that their parents will always love them.
Help them balance relationships
Help your kids understand that coping with their parents will be confusing. It can be difficult to love both parents at the same time when they do not love each other. Tell your children it is okay to love both mom and dad.
Children should not feel compelled to choose a camp or worry about losing the love of one parent. After a divorce, the loyalty of the children can be divided. It is possible that they feel stuck between their parents. Even if a parent can not ask their child to stop loving their former partner, children may feel compelled to choose a parent.
Many children take a long time to understand the feelings of divided loyalty. It is a normal process of children to adapt to their parents’ divorce.
You can say, “Sometimes you can feel guilty about not being with Dad while you are with Mom. You can sometimes feel compelled to choose whether you love more mom or dad. It is normal that you experience these feelings and confused thoughts. Many children feel this when their parent’s divorce. ”
Allow your children time to think about the divorce and the changes it may have caused. Do not expect to have one big discussion. Speak as many times as necessary.
Children want to talk about different topics over time. Answer your children’s questions and concerns and listen to them.
You may also be interested in: How to help children cope with divorce
Tips for explaining divorce to your children
It is clear that as a parent, you must help your children to face divorce; For this, we present some very direct suggestions that will be used when you have to explain to your children that their parents divorce:
- Give simple explanations, adapted to the age and development of the child.
- Focus on the immediate concerns of children.
- Avoid blaming either parent.
- Avoid talking about all the details. Use general statements. These statements can be very useful: “Dad and Mom decided they would be happier living in different homes”; “Dad and mom decided not to live together in the same house. “
- It is best to avoid saying: “Dad and Mom do not love each other anymore. “
If parents do not talk about loving themselves, a child may fear that they too will lose their parents’ love if they misbehave.
- Listen to children’s questions. Find out what they already know.
- Avoid giving false hopes that parents can get back together.
- Repeat to your children that divorce is not their fault.
Questions for children
Children need time to adapt to the idea of divorce. They may have many questions about what divorce means.
- Will they see their parents?
- Will they live in the same house or go to the same school?
- Will they see their friends?
- Who will take care of them?
- Can parents divorce their children or stop loving them in turn?
- Could the parents stay together if the children had behaved well?
We recommend reading the article: Divorce: how to talk to children?