If you’re facing a divorce, it’s difficult enough for you – as an adult – but it can be even more emotionally wrenching for your children. Even older children can have a difficult time wrapping their thoughts around the immense change they’re facing, and young children don’t even have reference points to guide them. In other words, it’s a lot, but taking the time to understand the basics about how to talk to your children about divorce can help. Finally, working closely with an experienced Michigan divorce attorney throughout the process is in you and your children’s best interests.
No family is spared emotional ups and downs – it’s a part of life that you cannot shield your children from. If you and your spouse are in the decision-making phase of divorce, this is a matter for adults only. While your children may recognize that you are going through a rough patch, the best policy is to assure them that you can handle it and that you’re working on it together. If you’re at the point that divorce is inevitable, it’s time to think carefully about how you’re going to talk to your kids about the matter.
How you tell your children about your divorce should be based on their ages:
While your teenagers may have friends whose parents are divorced and may get it on some level, they are also more likely to internalize the information, and it can be very hard on them. With teenagers, the best approach may be to explain the basics – concentrating on how you are working to ensure that their lives will be changing as little as possible – and to demonstrate (perhaps via herculean effort on your part) that you and their other parent are committed to making this massive transition as amicably as possible.
Children in the middle-school age bracket are beginning to differentiate themselves from others and can understand (on some level at least) that your divorce is not about them. This, however, generally doesn’t make it hurt any less. Assuring children that are this age that your focus remains on them – and demonstrating that this is true – is the best approach.
Children in elementary school don’t have the capacity to process much about divorce other than to tune into the stress involved. Ensuring that you take the time to provide ongoing reassurances and to give them the attention they crave can help them over this difficult hump. Children who are not yet school-aged have no means of understanding what is happening, and they’re going to need a lot of one-on-one time and careful attention.
Divorce is hard on adults, but it may be even more difficult for children – who lack the maturity and capacity to adequately process the immense transition involved. If you have concerns about talking to your children about divorce, the accomplished divorce attorneys at Van Den Heuvel Law Office are here to help. To learn more, please reach out and contact us today.
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