Explaining divorce to kids: Tips to help Ohio parents
Ohio parents often encounter challenges as they navigate the family justice system to file for divorce. You no doubt thought long and hard before deciding to end your marriage and now that you’ve made the decision, you’re concerned with how it will affect your children’s lives. Communication is a valuable tool to help you explain your situation to your kids and to lay the groundwork for a strong support system that can help them (and you) as you build a new, successful lifestyle.
Talking about personal matters with children can be awkward. It’s typically best to give kids small bits of information at a time, rather than trying to discuss everything all at once, as this may make them feel overwhelmed and stressed. If you keep a few, helpful ideas in mind and know where to seek outside support if needed, you can help your children develop coping skills that will assist them throughout their lives.
Keep your conversation basic
Your children definitely do not need to hear explicit details about your marital relationship or the disagreements or issues that led to your divorce. Adult matters should remain between adults. The following list provides tips for discussing divorce with your children, as well as the life changes that will occur:
- Some parents make the mistake of assuming their children know they love them. As you and your children make plans for your future, it can help them if you verbally remind them that you love them and that you are there to support them whenever they’re in need.
- Children are often confused by divorce and what it means to their family identity. It’s a good idea to explain to your kids that you are still a family, even if you and your spouse no longer live together.
- Younger children may need to you to explain that divorce means parents are separating, but parents do not divorce their children. This can be especially helpful to kids who are struggling with fear of abandonment.
It’s natural to experience a wide range of emotion when going through divorce. The same is true for children. Knowing they can come to you with questions and that you won’t be upset with them if they feel angry or worried, your children may be able to come to terms with your marital break-up without suffering serious negative consequences.
When added support is needed
Some kids aren’t comfortable talking to parents about their personal feelings regarding divorce. You may want to provide the opportunity for them to talk to someone else, perhaps a trusted aunt or uncle, a close friend or a licensed counselor who is experienced in helping families get through divorce.
If you yourself are facing legal obstacles that are preventing you from helping your kids as you think best, you can turn to an experienced family law attorney for support.