Going through a divorce can affect different family members in equally different ways. Many New Mexico parents who are jumping over the hurdles of the divorce process understand this sentiment all too well. For those with young children, the step of informing them of the divorce can seem an entirely separate challenge. Below are some strategies to keep in mind when explaining divorce to younger family members.
In an article on approaching divorce conversations, BabyCenter notes that it is important to consider what a child needs -- and does not need -- to know about the separation. Although children under 10 years of age may understand that divorce means the termination of marriage, their knowledge may not extend much further than this observation. BabyCenter encourages parents to touch on the topics that concern children the most, such as new living arrangements and schedules. By looking to the future, kids can better understand the situation at hand and can even begin looking ahead to this new life change. By the same token, time can be of the essence; BabyCenter also stresses that parents should carefully consider when they may drop the news.
Psychology Today also offers suggestions on how to navigate a divorce discussion with younger ears, urging parents to use words with caution. Because going through divorce with children can come with many new challenges (such as visitation times and child custody plans), it is vital that parents explain the separation in a way that keeps children as calm as possible. Just as staying calm and explaining points carefully can work wonders, PT also advises parents to invite open communication from kids, as well. Telling children that their feelings are valid can help them better adjust to the new situation and, over time, can help all family members thrive after the big change.