If you are in the process of a divorce in California, you may be wondering how to introduce this subject to your children. An honest approach can often clear the air and help your child deal with the complex emotions that often accompany the divorce process. Here are a few simple strategies that can help you help your children adjust to the new situation more easily.
Consider the Child’s Age
The age of your child or children will have a significant impact on the best ways to explain your divorce. Older children are more capable of understanding the reasons behind the divorce and of formulating questions that relate directly to their lives.
Some of the most common questions from older children that concern the practical effects of the divorce include:
- Where will I live?
- Where will I go to school?
- Who will take care of me?
- Will I be able to keep my pets?
- Will I still see both parents?
- What will holidays and vacations be like now?
Younger children may have similar questions without the verbal skills to ask them. Making sure your children know that both parents still love them and that they will be safe and cared for can reduce the stress and worry associated with your divorce in California.
Be Ready to Repeat Yourself
Especially for younger children, repetition is necessary to create a sense of security and stability. Your children may ask the same questions over and over and may express concerns about any variations in your answers. Maintaining consistency is essential to help your children feel confident and minimize the stress associated with your separation and divorce.
Present a United Front
It may not always be practical to take a cooperative approach with your former partner. This should be avoided in cases where abuse or violence were involved in the marriage. If you and your former spouse are on relatively good terms, however, a collaborative divorce arrangement can sometimes provide a more comfortable experience for your children during your divorce. By sitting down with your children and explaining the situation together, you may be able to reduce their stress levels and provide them with the answers they need to feel more secure.
Let Children Know They Are Not to Blame
One common belief among children of divorcing parents is that they could have prevented it or that they are somehow responsible for the situation. Explain in clear language that your children are blameless and that the difficulties that are ending your marriage are not related to them or their behavior. This is as important for younger children as it is for teenagers.
If you are still on amicable terms with your partner, working with an experienced divorce mediator may be the best way to resolve issues regarding child custody, child support, and other aspects of your divorce. By working collaboratively, you and your former partner can find mutually beneficial solutions that allow both of you to continue to be an important part of your children’s lives.