Many parents realize that their divorce is necessary but it may be hard for their children at first. There are a few things parents can do to help ease their children into the idea that their parents will no longer be together. For starters, parents may want to consider sitting down with their children and talking about why the divorce is happening and what will change because of it.
The news that a child’s parents are divorcing can be drastically different for a child of two years of age than it would be for a child of thirteen years of age. Before parents talk to their children, it may help to consider what a child needs to know depending on their age. Here’s what you should know:
Babies and toddlers
Babies and toddlers don’t retain complex subjects and events until much later in development. Anything that parents talk about to their children about the divorce won’t likely have any effect on them. However, the way parents act around their children at this age could create tension and developmental delay.
As children grow, they start to develop the ability to talk and understand their feelings. They’ll have a limited amount of understanding of complex topics like divorce. Pre-schoolers may understand that their parents’ divorce does affect them, but they may not understand the full extent of the situation.
Children in grade school begin to develop and nurture critical thinking skills. Parents can have in-depth conversations about divorce with their children at this age. Some information may still need to be simplified so their children understand.
Teens and adults
Teens and adults often understand how complex divorce is for their parents and may have more questions. Parents may have detailed conversations about their divorce knowing their children understand how complicated the process can be.
Parents who are going through a divorce may need to learn about their legal options if they need to discuss child custody and schedules.