Separation is difficult to deal with. Aside from coming to terms with the divorce and dealing with the emotional grief, you also have the burdens of legal issues, and the extremely challenging task of telling your children that their parents are separating. When it comes down to it, there’s no formula to explain the process of divorce to your kids, but there are a few things you can do to make the transition a little easier.
Be honest with them
Though it may seem tempting, hiding a divorce from young children is never a good idea. Children are often very perceptive and will find out one way or another, and it is best to let them hear the facts straight from you. The nitty-gritty details can be left out of the explanation if you feel that it’s not appropriate for young ears to hear, but you and your partner should agree on how best to explain the reason for your divorce to your children.
Small children who do not understand divorce may believe that the separation is their fault, or that you or your partner has stopped loving them. It is important to be aware of your child’s feelings and reassure them that the divorce has nothing to do with them, and that they are still wanted and loved by both you and your partner.
Make them aware of any changes that may happen
Let your child know what is going to happen in regards to their living situation and any other likely changes. If routines need to be drastically changed, let them know earlier on so they can have time to get their head around it and adjust. Whether you want to explain the legal changes in lifestyle to your child – for example, the need to pay child support or joint custody – is entirely up to you, but may be something to consider explaining to an older child, if only to help them understand the situation more thoroughly.
Be there for them
Above all, you and your partner have to be there for your child in whatever way possible. This does not only mean spending time with them, but also engaging with them on an emotional level. Notice if and/or how the divorce affects them and try to minimise the emotional hurt, whether it be through verbal reassurance, or just lots of hugs and physical affection. These are just some tips to help explain separation to your kids – of course, there’s no one size fits all solution. In the end, it’s just about communication and making sure you find a solution that makes it easier for all parties involved.
Author bio: Annabelle Maris is a freelance writer. She loves to hike in her spare time, and spends far too much money on children’s books to read to her kids.
This post is sponsored by Watts McCray Lawyers