Talking to Children About Divorce
One of the hardest things for parents to talk to children about is divorce. All children feel a strong sense of loss when parents separate or divorce. Kids may rebel, misbehave, or become withdrawn when their parents divorce. Children need as much support as possible from their parents and family while they deal with these emotions.
Tips for Telling Children
When and what to tell your children about the divorce will depend a lot on their age. Remember these basic tips:
- Tell children about the divorce as soon as you have made a decision and are certain about the divorce. Children need to be told before any changes occur.
- Don't go into great detail about your marital problems with children.
- Tell children about the changes that will happen (moving to a new house, moving to a new school, or beginning visitation). Parents need to listen to children's questions and concerns.
- If possible, parents should tell children about the divorce together. Agree ahead of time on an explanation. This is not the time to argue. This is the time to be very supportive of your children's thoughts and feelings.
- Tell your children often that they are in no way responsible for the divorce. Children need to know they are not to blame for what is happening.
Children cannot understand all the issues involved in a divorce. Be sensitive to their loss and don't expect them to behave like adults.
Divorce is hard for all children, but parents can expect certain behaviors based on their child's age. Look over the over the list of behaviors . Put a check in the box next to each that you have observed in your child.
||Exhibits baby-like behavior.|
||Is fearful if a parent is out of sight.|
||Acts irritable, withdraws, and throws more tantrums.|
||Expresses a sense of sorrow and loss.|
||Becomes very angry.|
||Feels angry and deceived.|
||Feels a strong sense of loss.|
||Has difficulty sleeping.|
||Feels angry and hurt and does not accept the divorce.|
||Feels cheated and unsure about trusting future relationships.|
||Is highly moralistic and critical.|
||Is more rebellious and acts out in uncharacteristic ways.|
||Has different friends.|
||School performance is declining.|
Reprinted with the permission of the University of Florida. © 2008 University of Florida.
Washington Virtual Academies
Tuition-free online school for Washington students.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- The Homework Debate
- Social Cognitive Theory
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- First Grade Sight Words List