Before the Divorce: How to Prepare Children for an Upcoming Divorce
With over 50% of marriages now ending in divorce, every year more and more children are faced with the challenges of their once complete household being turned upside down. And while divorces are an extremely difficult time for both adults involved, they are perhaps even more difficult for children.
In order to make the divorce as bearable as possible and to minimize the long-term effects on the children, parents can follow a few simple tips to make the transition as smooth as possible. First, parents should try to minimize arguing in front of the children. While divorce is obviously a time of intense emotions for both mom and dad, it is advisable to not fight or argue in front of the children. This will only lead to increased insecurity in a time that they need security the most.
It is also a good idea for both parents to sit down with their children to explain that the divorce is taking place. Children understand far more than parents realize, and they deserve the respect of both parents sitting down to talk about the changes in the family. Keep the explanation simple but truthful, and in terms the children can understand. Another thing to keep in mind is the importance of both parents regularly reassuring the children that the divorce is not their fault and that they will always love them, even though mom and dad will now be living apart. Children can feel unloved and often have feelings of guilt or responsibility when parents divorce. And above all, be available to listen when children want to talk or ask questions about the upcoming family changes.
Check back for follow up posts coming soon. I will discuss how parents can best support their children in the months and years following the divorce.