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Explaining Divorce To Young Children

Posted on in Divorce

South Barrington divorce lawyer parents and childrenGetting a divorce is rarely an easy process, and it is further complicated when children are involved. A divorce with children brings up the topics of child custody (allocation of parental responsibilities), visitation (parenting time), and child support. By choosing the right attorney, you can alleviate the stress of planning your upcoming divorce while ensuring that your rights are protected as you and your ex-spouse plan for how to continue to raise your children together after the end of your marriage.

No matter the feelings between the parents, it is important to talk with children and discuss what divorce entails for your family. Depending on their emotional maturity, older children may have an easier time understanding divorce, but younger children often struggle to understand and adjust to the changes in their lives. Here are some guidelines for discussing divorce with children who are six years old or younger: 

Zero to 18 Months Old

A child this young barely has the developmental skills to form a proper sentence, let alone discuss or understand their parents’ divorce. However, children at this age can pick up on tension at home. Hold off on discussing the divorce in detail with children this young until they are older. Ease the stress on your infant by remaining consistent with them in your daily routines. This means taking care of yourself, ensuring that you will be able to continue to provide quality care for your infant during and after your divorce. 

18 Months to Three Years Old

At this age, your child is beginning to gain independence, but they still rely on you for basic care. Your toddler is old enough to recognize tension between you and your partner, but not old enough to know what is happening and why. Because of where a child is developmentally at this age (which is often called the “me stage”) they might blame themselves. Be sure to give your child the extra attention they need, asking them how they are feeling and reassuring them the divorce is not their fault. 

Three to Six Years Old

Even when a child is older, they still may feel responsible for their parents splitting up. At this age, they may prefer to live with tension at home than to have mom or dad leave. Divorce can be a stressful time for children at this age, because they are old enough to know what is happening, but not the reasons why. When explaining and discussing the divorce, keep things simple. Emphasize that your child is still loved, that no one is leaving him or her, and that the divorce is a decision between two grown-ups. Try reading children’s books with them on the topic of divorce. 

Contact a Schaumburg Divorce Attorney Today

The breakup of parents’ relationship can be challenging for a child, but tension in the household can often cause the most trauma, no matter the age. If you believe divorce is the best solution for your family, contact an Arlington Heights divorce lawyer at Anderson and Associates, P.C. We can help you understand your rights and work with you and your spouse to create a parenting plan that meets your family’s needs. Call 847-995-9999 to arrange a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.todaysparent.com/family/kids-and-divorce-an-age-by-age-guide/

https://www.parents.com/parenting/divorce/coping/age-by-age-guide-to-what-children-understand-about-divorce/

https://www.businessinsider.com/children-of-divorce-odds-of-divorcing-2016-5

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