March 1, 2012

Helping Children Understand Divorce

Divorce is a difficult adjustment for children and parents. Everyone in the family will be dealing with a variety of emotions. Despite their own challenges with the divorce process parents need to understand how divorce affects their children.  

Much of what children understand about divorce depends on their age. At each age, there are certain feelings and reactions that children will experience. They may experience anger, anxiety and depression. You may even see regressive behaviors. It's important to be aware of how your child may be affected so you can respond appropriately and help your child navigate through this stressful time. 

What Do Children Need to Know about Divorce?

  • It's not their fault
  •  Their parents will love them forever
  • Their parents will continue to take care of them
  • Some things will change and some things will stay the same  
What Do Children Worry About?

  • If they'll have to move or change school
  • How family occasions and holidays will be celebrated
  • The parent who is leaving    
  • That they'll have to choose one parent over the other
How Can Parents Help Children During a Divorce?

  • Answer their questions. Respond honestly and in an age-appropriate way
  • If you don't know the answers tell them that when you find out they'll be the first to know
  • Provide a consistent, predictable routine
  • Don't say bad things about the other parent
  • Assure your children things will work out and they won't always be sad or angry
For children there is a lot of uncertainly about what life will look like after their parents split up. Be confident that you and your children can navigate this transition. Reassure them and show them that they can count on their parents to provide stability and love throughout their lives.

1 comment:

family counseling said...

Parents who get divorced should really take time to explain everything to their kids and to make them understand that the breakup had nothing to do with them, especially that children tend to blame themselves. This post of yours is certainly very enlightening. Thank you for sharing.