Even if it is the right decision, choosing to end your marriage is likely to be difficult for both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If you have children, news or your divorce may be emotionally devastating. After all, kids of divorce tend to experience anger, depression and even academic challenges.
How you break the news of your impending divorce may make a noticeable difference in your children’s emotional well-being. Because of their developmental state, meaningfully talking to preschoolers requires a different approach than discussing divorce with older kids. Here are three tips for making your discussion go smoothly.
1. Do not overcomplicate the discussion
You and your husband or wife may have some legitimate reasons for calling it quits. Still, you do not have to go into detail with your three- or four-year-old. By using simple and comforting language, you can likely get your point across without causing the young one in your family undue stress.
2. Talk to your child together
Your preschooler’s world is considerably smaller than yours, so you probably do not want him or her to believe the family is crumbling. If you and your spouse can explain the divorce together in a loving and united way, your preschooler may have an easier time coping with upcoming changes.
3. Encourage your child to talk about feelings
You do not want your preschooler to bottle up the feelings he or she has about the end of your marriage. Therefore, you should allow plenty of time during and after your discussion for your child to talk about feelings. You may also encourage your child to draw pictures or communicate in other non-verbal ways.
There are many age-appropriate books to help your child understand your divorce. Ultimately, though, by making your preschooler’s emotional well-being a priority, you minimize the negative psychological effects many young children feel about their parents’ divorces.