How can you help your children adjust to the idea of divorce?

Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada LLP

Children often have a difficult time when it comes to divorce. They may feel left out of many of the decisions that have to be made, especially as they get older. While younger children may not remember much about the divorce in the future, older kids have the potential to hold onto their anger or frustration and later use it against their parents.

This issue is why parents should do their best to be honest and to discuss the divorce in an appropriate way with their children. Being age-appropriate with the discussion is important, too, since your children need to understand what’s happening.

Here’s an example. If you have a 7-year-old child and a 12-year-old child, they’re both going to approach the divorce in different ways. The 7-year-old child may be more tearful than usual or be scared about what’s going to happen. On the other hand, your 12-year-old child may know friends with divorced parents and have preconceived notions about what divorce means and the way a family interacts afterward.

Both you and your spouse have the responsibility of explaining divorce and quelling your children’s fears, even though those fears may be different. You may want to have two different talks, one with the younger child and another with the older child, so they hear what needs to be said to them without having to account for the other child’s concerns at the same time.

Taking time to help your child understand divorce will make the divorce a smoother and less damaging process for everyone who is involved in it.

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