Why You Should Discuss Your Divorce with Your Child

By July 14, 2017divorce

Deciding to get a divorce is a choice that many adults struggle with for months or years. No matter how difficult the relationship has become, it is not unusual for a couple to attempt to work through their issues, especially if children are involved. Once the situation reaches a point at which divorce is inevitable, it is important for both parents to talk to their children. Unfortunately, parents often avoid directly talking to their children about getting a divorce.  Some parents are uncomfortable about discussing their relationship with their children while others assume that their children already know about the divorce. Understanding how much simply talking to your children prior to the divorce can help them may encourage you to do so, even when you might not want to.

Lasting Memory

Studies have shown that children remember when they were told about an impending divorce.  No matter how long ago a divorce took place, the memory stays fresh, illustrating how much of a psychological and emotional impact the news has on a child. Since children remember being told about divorce,  it is important that parents control the way the information is delivered.  Failing to actually talk to your children about the divorce creates a situation in which the child may find out about the divorce through a friend, other family members, or by overhearing something.  Even if your children forget some of the circumstances surrounding your divorce or marriage, they are very likely going to remember when they found out about a divorce and how they were told.

Developmental Issues

The age of a child can also impact how he or she receives the information about the divorce and how that child will later interpret it. A child who is not able to understand complexity, is very dependent upon their parents for care, and is not able to truly verbalize feelings may show his or her distress in other ways. Children who are 5 years old or younger experience anxiety, anger, and experience developmental regressions. Some small children may blame themselves for the divorce, making it important to talk to children and reassure them. Patience and communication help your children understand and cope with the major life change.

Helps Keep Things Simple

Beginning the divorce process and talking to your children sporadically makes the entire process of explaining the situation more complicated than it needs to be. Regardless of the age of your children, a simple discussion with a clear message is often best. Older children who are probably not surprised will still be reassured by having their suspicions confirmed in a concise way.  Telling your children that their parents will be happier living in separate homes while remaining a stable part of their lives can ease some of their unconscious anxiety and help them prepare for the transition process.

Talking to an Attorney

Once you have decided that a divorce is definitely the answer and have spoken to your children, it is important to talk to an attorney. Having the advice and assistance of a family law attorney is vital when you are hoping to reach a beneficial child custody and support agreement with your spouse. That attorneys at Lawrence Law Office are prepared to provide you with the support and legal advice that you need. Contact our conveniently located Columbus, Ohio office to schedule a consultation.

Linda Lawrence

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