No matter how long you wait to do it, you will eventually have to tell your children that you’re getting a divorce. Even though you may want to spare them the nitty-gritty details, it is important that you tell your children about the divorce as soon as you can and that you talk to them about it in an age-appropriate way.
The way you approach the divorce discussion with your children will depend on their ages and maturity level. For young children, the conversation will have to be simpler than it is for older kids.
Here are three things you should remember when bringing up a divorce.
- You have to start with the basics
To start with, you need to begin with the basics. Talk to your children about what a divorce is and what that means for them. For example, a toddler may not know what a divorce is, but you can explain that they will have two houses and may see mom or dad at different times.
- You should save time for your children’s questions
Many children have questions about divorce and child custody, so it’s appropriate to set aside time to have them ask questions. They may not have questions right away, so remember to ask if they do later that week and once in a while after that, so they know that they can talk to you.
- You need to keep things age-appropriate
Finally, remember to keep things age-appropriate. Your teen may want to know if they’re responsible for the divorce. Your toddler might want to know if they can keep their toys. These kinds of discussions are largely age-based.
Keep in mind the questions that your child might have at this age and be prepared to answer them. Don’t go into the deep details of your divorce no matter how old your children are. You have a responsibility to insulate them from adult conversations and disputes.
These are a few things to consider as you think about how to talk to your children about your divorce. A good approach may help them adapt more easily to the changes that come next.