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Telling children the 'why' of divorce

For divorcing parents, one of the hardest things to do is to tell their children the marriage is over. While many parents see divorce as a change in the family dynamic, children may feel that it is the end of family altogether. Because of children’s tendency to internalize these types of life-changing events, many parents worry about how to discuss the topic without causing further damage to their children.

A recent news article asked readers about how they discussed the divorce with their children, specifically concentrating on whether they told their kids why the marriage was ending. After many responses, it seems the overall theme is “less is more.”

Many parents made it clear that their children do not need to know the specifics of the split. The only thing they need to know, according to one psychologist, is that dad and mom are not staying together because they do not love one another the way that parents should.

Of course, a big factor that plays into how parents discuss the divorce with their children is their age. Although a divorce can be hard for children at almost any age, most parents agree that younger children will likely not understand the causes of the divorce. Some parents agree, though, that the truth should be explained in age-appropriate language so that the children understand the split is not their fault and that they are still loved by both parents.

When it comes to older children, while some parents said they will answer any questions asked without sugarcoating, others explained that no matter what, they would not talk bad about their ex because that individual is still the child’s parent.

No matter the approach, parenting after divorce can definitely be a challenge. The hope for many Florida parents is that with the help of the legal system, they will be able to make a custody arrangement that will be in the best interests of the child. After that, it’s a day-to-day effort to be the best parent they can be. 

Source: Huffington Post, “Divorce And Children: Should You Tell Your Kids Why You’re Getting A Divorce?” Sept. 9, 2013

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