Families don’t always stay together as originally planned, and divorce becomes a challenging reality. How does one address this complex topic with children?
“Tell your children when it is fully decided on,” says Tanya Croucher, family support specialist at Centerstone. “It is best to prevent any confusion in this scenario.”
It is also important to be gentle with your children when addressing this topic.
“Consider the children’s developmental age, and make it as appropriate as possible,” says Hannah Lovett, Early Childhood program coordinator at Centerstone.
One of the best practices is to consider the children’s feelings at this moment—ask them how they feel and encourage them to voice their opinion. Children might feel a lot of discomfort, instability, and even misguided senses of blame and guilt. Take the time to reassure your children and let them know they are not to blame. But keep the details private according to their developmental age and initial reaction.
Also, be considerate of the child’s feelings. Never overshare information about the divorce, which can be even more traumatic for the children than it is for a parent. Here are several things to consider when talking about divorce with children:
Divorce is a complicated situation for any family. It is important for parents and children to practice their healthy communication and coping skills every step of the way.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, Centerstone can help. Call 1-877-HOPE123 (1-877-467-3123) for more information.
If you are in crisis, please call our crisis line, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.
If you're still having trouble and would like to reach out to someone about counseling or other Centerstone services, contact us.
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