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Preparing children for divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2024 | Child Support

It can be quite tempting for parents who are divorcing to keep their children in the dark, partially because it can be such disheartening news for kids to receive. But the truth is, children will eventually be caught in the middle of the separation no matter what.

Therefore, divorcing parents are better off preparing their children for divorce than letting the news of their separation catch the kids by surprise. Children who are aware of their parents’ separation are likely to be way less disoriented by their new reality.

Open and honest communication

Children tend to be quite perceptive because they’re at a stage where their brains are absorbing the world around them. Therefore, even before they receive the news of their parents’ divorce, they might have already picked up on the tension in the household. This is why it’s so important for divorcing parents to have an open and honest conversation before the kids start drawing their own conclusions.

Age-appropriate conversation

The conversation about divorce should be tailored to each child’s age to help ensure they understand what is about to happen. Divorcing parents should use simple language to minimize any chance that the kids might misinterpret what they’re being told. Furthermore, parents should be careful not to blame each other for the separation.

Reassuring the children

The main focus should be to reassure the children that the divorce does not change the love each parent has for them. It’s also crucial to reassure the children that the divorce is an adult decision and none of them is to blame for the separation. It can also help children to know that their basic needs will still be met and they’ll continue to have a relationship with both parents.

Maintaining stability and routine

Any change can be unsettling, and few things are more disorienting for most kids than the realization that their parents will no longer live together. Therefore, it can help to keep the adjustments at a minimum to help the children continue to feel a sense of normalcy in their daily lives. Some repetitive routines that shouldn’t be interfered with can include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Bedtime rituals
  • School schedules
  • Participation in extracurricular activities

When the children don’t have to lose their friends or stop playing a sport they enjoy, they can feel a sense of security and comfort during this transitional season.

Preparing children for divorce can allow divorcing parents to more effectively anticipate their kids’ reaction to the ins and outs of the separation itself. Parents can also be better equipped to deal with the wide range of emotions the children may experience.