While you may still be talking to a newly established attorney about your divorce, you may find that you need to have a talk with your children. Bringing up a topic like this needs to be handled very carefully. Depending on the age of your children, you may need to hit on different points on the topic. Read further on how to talk to children in different age ranges about divorce, and how to maintain a good relationship with your child while also remaining a “good” parent.
Talking to Children of Different Ages About Divorce
Discussing divorce with your 11-year-old is going to look a lot different than talking to the 4-year-old who is concerned about where the family dog will live. Take a look at the different age ranges and what you should expect.
0 to 5 Years
These babies and toddlers have an incredible amount of dependence on their caregivers. Toddlers can especially believe that the parent is leaving them instead of the spouse. It is important to remember that:
They think the world revolves around them.
They have a hard time telling reality from fantasy.
They have a limited ability to talk about feelings if at all.
Because of these facts, you should expect a lot of questions from your child. You will probably have many small talks about the subject. Remember to keep your answers short and easy for them to understand.
6 to 11 Years
This age group likes to believe that they have the chance to bring their parents back together. They have a more complex thinking process than 0 to 6-year old range. Look into things like:
Can somewhat talk about feelings.
Starting to have relationships outside the family circle.
See things pretty black and white.
Limited understanding of divorce.
Remember to keep up a regular routine for your children. This will help them deal with the change of divorce by still having somewhat of a stable environment.
12 to 14 Years
While this age group has a much greater understanding of a parental separation than the previous groups, there are still things to watch out for when your child is going through understanding the divorce and what is happening. Irritability and anger are common among this age range, so expect to see some of this from your child.
Friends outside of the family are becoming very important.
Want more independence from parents.
Question a parent’s authority.
Willing to take part in conversations and are more willing to ask questions.
Remember to keep communication open between you and your child. This way, you can catch anything they might be feeling or expressing by themselves.
Maintaining a Good Relationship
By nurturing the bond, you have with your child, you can help maintain a good relationship with them. This helps the child to fully survive from the split of their parents. While it is important to give your child space when they need it, remember to always be there for them when the time comes.
Being a “Good” Parent
What is good parenting? This can be anything from keeping your conversations with your children honest but friendly, learning more about divorce education opportunities, and learning how to contain conflict when it arises.
Now that you know a little more about talking to your children about divorce, head over to Houston Divorce Now’s articles to learn more about other topics pertaining to divorce. If you do not have an attorney already, head over to C. Y. Lee Legal Group to find a trusted family lawyer today.