Divorce and Kids: What Are Their Concerns?
There are some things to be aware of prior to speaking to your children about an impending divorce. I have covered some of these elements in another part of my website.
How you talk this delicate subject over with your children depends on their age. Very young kids (i.e. toddlers) have to be handled a bit differently than the older children who are in grade school, or above.
There is a very good book called, “Difficult Questions Kids Ask and Are Afraid to Ask About Divorce” by Meg Schneider, which may be able to help you.
This book is at amazon.com, and is a book that is good (for toddlers, with pictures); the goal of this book for toddlers is to know that life goes on, and though the youngster certainly will experience times of sadness & missing whichever parent is absent, SOME things remain the same — which is a comfort.
Other similar books are Brigitte Weninger’s “Good-Bye, Daddy” (North-South, 1995), Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown’s “Dinosaurs Divorce” (Atlantic Monthly, 1986), Linda Walvoord Girard’s “At Daddy’s on Saturdays” (Albert Whitman, 1987).
Overall, these books can lay a foundation for the young toddler, so he or she can realize that divorce is not in fact “the end of the world.” And realizing, also, that her (or his) birthday will still be celebrated & other momentous occasions, as well, is something essential for any child to know.
Kids and Divorce: The Essentials
Of course, one essential thing to discuss with your child (no matter the age) is concerning which parent will be leaving. You want to think about these things, so you can be prepared as to how you’ll broach the topic. Divorce is one thing, meaning the legal aspect of it, when it will be final, and when the other parent will depart.
Yet you also need to discuss the separation, since separation anxiety will surely occur. That is, unless you and your spouse set up to buy houses next to each other – or in the same neighborhood.
You all need to know what the living arrangements will be. You need to decide on this with your former partner. If your husband is moving, for example, you need to know the address they will be staying at. This is important for the conversation with your kids.
Additionally, it is helpful for your child to find out details on what his room will be like at daddy’s new house, or apartment. And if your child is still a toddler, it would be comforting to know the components – i.e., stuffed animals (which ones) that will be at Mom or dad’s new home, what kind of a bed etc.
For a real young child, having a special bed (read “Little Tikes” bed) can make a difference. You want the child to be comfortable and at ease at their new home (their 2nd home). And probably, your child (whether grade school age or pre-school) could have their own bookshelf in their bedroom, with new, special books to discover and enjoy.
One such book that could help with comprehending the situation: “Talking About Divorce and Separation” which has many illustrations for young kids, and handles the delicate topic of Divorce in a sensitive, caring fashion.
It touches on the grief aspects, the guilt a child may feel; and the anxiety, because their future is “being threatened.” Your kids will have natural worries and concerns when it comes to divorce, and this book talks about the child crying & how that is essential (to let it flow) since the last thing you want is for your children to end up repressing their natural feelings.
Also, “Two Homes” by Claire Masurel can be helpful (it’s a book I’ve looked at, and have featured on my HealthyKids site). People like it because it is nice and simple for toddlers to understand (it’s not so much for grade school aged kids). It has pictures, of course, and reinforces the fact that they are loved no matter where they are at, physically.
Links – Parenting Tips & Strategies
Time-Outs: Are They Right For My Child —> Visit HERE
More Divorce Articles: Divorce Hurts – Ways To Cope