It is an uncomfortable feeling for people to answer questions about their divorce, especially when they have strong opinions and emotions about their situation. Even more challenging is when parents must inform their children of their decision to separate.
Talking with young children presents unique circumstances that require careful navigation to prevent misunderstanding and confusion.
Beginning the discussion
According to Parents.com, experts suggest that parents plan what to say to their children. Their effort to coordinate an explanation of what has happened and how those changes will affect the family is imperative to help the process go smoothly. It is also suggested that people carefully consider their family situation and dynamic to assess the most appropriate way to address the news. In some cases, parents may consider a family council. However, if their children range in age significantly, telling each child individually may allow adequate space and privacy to process the difficult news.
Sharing appropriate information
Parents who discuss their divorce while tensions are running high, run the risk of sharing too much information. Having a mutual understanding of which facts to share and how to present them may aid parents in maintaining an effective and cordial discussion. Helpguide.org suggests that above all else, parents make the decision to be truthful and honest.
Of course, there are ways for parents to maintain integrity and honesty without subjecting their children to unnecessary details or information that may create angst or fear. Assessing factors such as age, maturity and parental-child relationships may help parents to share the appropriate amount of information with each child.