How to tell kids about a divorce
Knowing how and when to approach kids to tell them about a divorce can be a difficult thing for parents.
One of the hardest things for Georgia parents to do is to break bad news to their children. It is natural for parents to want their children to be and feel happy at all times. However, that is not always possible nor is it practical. Parents do also need to help guide and teach their kids how to understand and deal with some of life’s less pleasant sides.
Unfortunately for some people, this includes having to tell kids that the parents are getting divorced. The impact to kids about divorce can be broad. Immediately it means that they no longer have both parents living with them all of the time. It may also mean that the kids have to move to a new house and give up their existing home altogether. They may even need to switch schools. The list goes on.
Today’s Parent indicates that the questions that kids might ask or concerns that they will have at this time can vary greatly based upon their ages. Parents are urged to craft conversations appropriately to match the developmental maturity of each child.
The first conversation
Figuring out how to initially tell children about a divorce can be difficult, especially for families with multiple kids that span a wide age range. According to Psychology Today, this first conversation is best done as a group if possible. This keeps all kids on equal footing and eliminates the need for some kids to hold secrets from their brothers and sisters until everyone has been told.
Once this first meeting has taken place, parents can then have one-on-one conversations with children. It is here that more depth can occur, especially for older kids. With preschool-aged kids especially, the focus will be kept mostly to practicalities like which house will they be at for bedtime and whether or not they will still see Grandma for dinner on Sunday night.
As children age, emotions will come into the discussion more. For middle schoolers or those not wanting to talk much, parents should continue to make sure kids know the parents are available and always there.
On a related note, in the ideal situation both parents are equally communicative with their kids. According to the Huffington Post, one way to facilitate this is for each parent to allow unrestricted communication with the other no matter which parent the kids are with at any given time. Putting limits on texts or phone calls can hinder these relationships.
An ongoing process
Parents in Georgia need also to remember that simply because a divorce decree has been signed, that does not mean the process is over in the hearts of children. Conversations will likely happen over a span of time.
When getting divorced, working with an attorney is important. Among the benefits of having legal help is that parents can better focus on the emotional needs of their kids.