Learn how to discuss divorce with children. To consult with a reputable family law attorney in Chicago, IL, call Larimer Law, LLC today at 773-370-0600.
Learning appropriate ways to discuss divorce with children, taking into consideration their age and maturity level at the time of the discussion, can help ensure an easier and healthier transition for kids. Divorce can be a particularly difficult process for children to understand and experience. Experts assert that children often perceive divorce as the loss of family and the process may cause emotional trauma.
The following guide can help parents communicate with their kids about divorce.
Communicating with Infants
While parents won't need to discuss divorce with babies from birth to 18 months in age, they do need to maintain a consistent routine. Throughout the divorce process, parents should maintain normal schedules when it comes to feeding their children and putting them to bed. Physical comfort and familiarity are key at this time.
Communicating with Toddlers
For children ages 18 months to three years, maintaining a consistent routine is equally important. Children can be distraught if drastic changes take place that disrupt their life, even in seemingly small ways. They can grow emotional and may lash out in different ways to get attention. During these times, parents should try to maintain routines that keep day-to-day life consistently predictable for young children. It's also important to make sure toddlers receive enough attention and pay attention to how the child is feeling. Providing reassurance that the split between the parents has nothing to do with the child's behaviors can help young children cope.
Speaking with Preschoolers and Older Children
Children around the ages of three to six may also believe that they're responsible for the breakup of their parents' relationships. During these times, parents should comfort their children by openly discussing how the child is feeling. Like with younger children, parents should help kids in this age group understand that they aren't responsible for the divorce.
For older children ages six to 11, a divorce could lead to a lack of self-esteem or blaming one or the other parent. Parents should make sure they communicate regularly with their children and encourage them to continue engaging in the activities they enjoy. Regular visitation schedules and effective collaboration between parents are also vital.
Taking these steps can help children adapt to divorce and minimize the emotional distress they may experience throughout the process.