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How do parents tell a young child about their divorce?

| Jan 18, 2021 | Divorce |

Typically, when two people decide to end their marriage, they face a fairly long to-do list before their divorce becomes final. While many of these tasks involve finances and property division, parents may also dread breaking the news of their divorce to their children. Likely, any parent will find this type of conversation difficult, no matter the age of the child, but parents of very young children often face an especially challenging time as they try to explain the situation to a little person with limited vocabulary. Here are a few tips to help such parents through this time.

Parents are wise to ensure they are absolutely certain they are separating before communicating the new situation to their young child. Otherwise, the child may become confused. They should also be sure they give the child enough processing time before initiating any changes in living arrangements. Choosing the best time to relay the news is also wise; for example, parents should avoid bringing up the topic just before the child has to leave for daycare.

Parents are also advised to collaborate, if possible, by informing the child together and discussing beforehand what they will tell him or her. Parents are also smart to keep their explanation simple, speak in terms the young child will understand and avoid discussing legal and financial details in front of the child. They can also reassure the child that he or she will still be able to see both parents. Since children sometimes believe their parents’ divorce was their fault, parents can also assure their child they did nothing wrong. Finally, whatever the child’s reaction, parents should try to be understanding and patient.

No parent wants to deliver devastating news to a child, especially if the child probably does not really understand the concept of divorce. Unfortunately, many parents must have such a conversation at some point. Many divorcing Tennessee residents, parents or not, choose a family law attorney to help them navigate the divorce process, which can be daunting. Such a professional can be a helpful resource during what is often a challenging time in a person’s life.