How honest should you be with children about your divorce? It’s an extremely tricky balance to get right. How much information do they really need to know, and what can wait until they’re older? Divorce can have a huge impact on children and it’s important that you tackle the issue in the right way. A lot of parents make the mistake of trying to shield their children by not telling them what is going on. This isn’t the right approach to take because it just creates more confusion and distress.
However, your child may be too young to fully understand what is happening and if you tell them too much, it is difficult for them to process. Finding that balance is very tough but it’s important if you want the family to be able to move forward and the children to be happy. So, how much should you tell your child about your divorce?
Disclaimer: This is a contributed post not written by me.
The most important thing in this situation is that you reassure them. They will naturally be wondering whether it has anything to do with them and whether they will still spend time with you both. So, the first thing to do is let them know that you both love them still and your feelings towards them will never change, even if their living situation does. In the days and weeks following this conversation, use positive affirmations to boost your child’s mood and make sure that they are confident about themselves.
Explaining What Happens Next
Letting your child know what happens next is very important because the unknown elements of their future can cause a lot of distress. If they are a bit older, you may even want to explain that you are seeing family law solicitors to go through the process of divorce. Most importantly, speak to them about where they will live and what visitation arrangements you have made. Understanding what their situation will make the transition a lot easier for them. If you are still in the early stages and you are trying to decide where they will live, you should ask the children who they would prefer to stay with, so you can take their opinion into account. Just be aware that this can be a difficult conversation for parents to have and it’s important you don’t let it cause arguments and resentment between you.
Explaining The Reasons For The Breakup
This is a tricky situation and many parents will give vague answers or lie about the reasons for the breakup. It’s difficult to know how much you should tell your child because some subjects will be hard for them to understand. If there is infidelity involved, this should not be discussed with young children and older children should only be told if they already know about it, to some extent. Things like money issues can also worry them a lot. Ideally, you should explain to them in more general terms that adult relationships can break down for a number of reasons, but don’t go into too many specifics.
Older children that have a clearer understanding of relationships may want to know more information. Sometimes, it is best to provide more details, but make sure that you do not create resentment between the child and one of the parents.
To know exactly how honest should you be with children about your divorce is hard but the most important thing to remember is that your children need clarity about what will happen in the future. Some of the details can be discussed later on when they are old enough to understand better.