When children are young, you may not think that there is much you need to tell them about a divorce or separation. However, even young children can tell when something in the home is changing. Whether it's alterations to the routine or seeing a parent less often, it can make your child act out or become depressed or confused. Martson Law Offices Shareholder Hubert Gilroy served as a Cumberland County Custody Conciliator for over 20 years. He handled hundreds of cases where he had to mediate the demands of both parents while knowing that the law required that any custody agreement or order had the “best interest of the children” as the primary concern
While it's important not to overly burden a child with information about a divorce, it still is a good idea to talk to them about it. For example, if you have a 5-year-old child, they're old enough to understand that both parents may live in separate homes. Similarly, they can understand that sometimes two people don't like each other. This is a prime time in your child's life to show how two people can work together despite conflict. Hubert has the knowledge from his quasi-Judicial Conciliator role to assist clients through this difficult time with their children.
How can you talk to a young child about divorce?
You have to bring up the topic in an age-appropriate way. For example, if your child is only 3, you might just tell them that mom and dad are going to live in different homes, and they'll get to live at each one, too. If your child is 10, on the other hand, you can go more in-depth and state what a divorce is and how it might affect your living conditions.
What should you do to make a divorce easier for your children?
Putting your children first is a necessity when you're going through a divorce. To make the divorce easier on your children, remember that you can try to maintain their routines. You and your spouse should attempt to maintain the same routines no matter where the child is at the time. Additionally, you should both refrain from arguing or fighting in front of your child, since children of any age can understand and react to the stress that fighting causes.
Divorces are hard, but by putting your child first, you'll be able to move forward more successfully.