Breaking the news of your divorce to your child can be difficult. Divorce can be frightening and confusing to children. The following are some tips on discussing your divorce with your children that Okemos parents may find useful.
First, parents should not wait until the last minute to tell their child they are divorcing. There should be ample time to explain child custody arrangements. Legal custody allows a parent to make key life decisions on behalf of the child. Oftentimes parents share legal custody. Physical custody denotes where the child will live and when. Sometimes parents will share physical custody, while other times one parent will have physical custody of the child and the other parent will have visitation rights. Children need to know what these arrangements will be, and children should be reassured that they are still loved by both parents and that both parents will always be there to care for them.
However, when discussing divorce with children, it is important to keep discussions at a level the child can understand. Depending on their age, children may not need to know all the details about the parents’ divorce legal issues, such as spousal support or property division. Parents should be straight-forward, but they should also answer any questions their child may have. It is ok for parents to acknowledge that the divorce is sad for all involved, but they should emphasize that the divorce is not their child’s fault.
Even though some parents may be relieved that their unhappy marriage is coming to an end, it is important to remember that divorce and the changes it brings can be upsetting and stressful for their child. It is important that parents discuss their divorce with their child in as loving a matter as possible, so that children understand how divorce, which is a legal process, will affect them while still retaining the understanding that they will always be loved and cared for by both parents.