How can parents tell their child about the divorce so as not to harm him?
All people marry, if not for love, then by mutual agreement for sure. At the same time, no one plans to “get married” for some time, planning a divorce in advance. On the contrary, all newlyweds are confident that they can live a long and happy life together in love and harmony. Unfortunately, many marriages fall apart over time. And there are many reasons for this – from betrayal, addictions to banal dissimilarity of characters, which also prevents partners from feeling happy in a couple.
Naturally, the decision to divorce is not easy for any person. Moreover, it is difficult to dare to destroy a family when there are children in it. For a while, partners try to close their eyes to everything that does not suit them in the family, trying to preserve the union for the sake of the child. This situation is fundamentally wrong. You need to fight for a family when you have feelings and a desire to live with your chosen one. But to make some sacrifices, even for the sake of children, is a bad choice. As a result, the child will always feel uncomfortable and uncomfortable in the house, acutely feeling the remoteness of the parents and their quiet aggression towards each other. Or even worse – he will have to witness terrible scenes, tantrums, accusations and showdowns. This will harm him more than a timely decision to divorce and give each of the couple a chance to become happy in later life …
Honesty and sincerity will help your child accept the news more easily.
The most important thing to understand is that the child’s biggest fear is a misunderstanding of the situation. He may be afraid of your quarrels and your tacit disagreements, but the unknown will frighten him even more. He just needs to give answers to all his questions about why his father no longer lives with you, how his life and your attitude towards him will change in the event of a divorce, etc. At the same time, one cannot talk about a divorce from a child after everything has happened. Or – when the father is standing in the doorway with a suitcase. Moreover, you cannot do this in a hurry – collecting the child in kindergarten or school, putting him to bed, etc.
How to tell a young child to divorce
It would be most correct to conduct such a conversation together. To do this, both parents need to realize that this is being done for the benefit of their child. For this time, it is necessary to postpone mutual recriminations and claims and develop a single action plan. You must convince the child that the divorce itself is a pure formality that applies exclusively to your relationship as husband and wife. For the child, everything will remain as before – he has two loving parents and all the habits and traditions that were associated with them. If one of the parents cannot restrain their emotions (the mother will cry or the father will cry out), then you need to postpone the conversation to another time: “It’s hard for mom / father now, but we will definitely continue this topic with you so that you know that We are still dear to us, and we both love you very much. ” It is even better to prepare this conversation in advance – a few weeks before the divorce, so that the child has time to get used to your decision and to clarify the incomprehensible moments for him from both parents. If you have several children, you need to correctly assess their emotional willingness to receive such news at the family council. Adult children can give a very negative reaction, which can scare toddlers. In this case, you will have to talk to each child separately, but only to both parents together. And one more important point – you can’t start such a conversation with every quarrel of yours, leaving to your parents and collecting a suitcase for your husband under the influence of emotions. Talking to a child about a divorce is only worth it if you have definitely decided on such a step and none of the spouses sees the path to reconciliation. In any case, you must understand that you are injuring the child. But! This should not be a stopping factor when choosing a decision that is important for your life. By reasonably approaching the problem or using the help of psychologists, you can correctly convey to the child the problem that exists in your couple, without forming complexes in him and without exposing him to psycho-emotional disorders.
What and how to talk about divorce to children
Now, more specifically, what the child needs to know about the reasons for your separation.
- First, your words must be convincing and come from the heart. Do not try to deceive the child or give him false hope of possible reconciliation.
- Secondly, try to explain to the child in an accessible way that there are often situations in life when everything does not work out the way you would like. When you got married, everything was fine, but now you quarrel too often and this makes you unhappy. Therefore, a decision was made in which each of the couple will have a chance to be happy.
- Thirdly, focus on the fact that nothing changes in relation to the child. Divorce is the dissolution of marital obligations, not parental ones. The baby, as before, will have two loving parents – a father and a mother, as well as grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters on each side.
- Fourthly, it is also necessary to explain to the child that he will be able to communicate with his father as before, see him at any time, talk on the phone, go to visit, etc. If there were any traditions in the family, you need to assure the child that they will remain unchanged.
- Fifth, it is important to convey to the baby that there are no guilty ones in divorce – it just happens sometimes in adult relationships. You can give examples from the environment, looking for those that can calm the child and help him to accept this situation.
The ideal option for a divorce can be considered the one from which everyone benefits in terms of mental and emotional comfort. If this is understandable in relation to partners who have not managed to get along together, then for the child it will still be a test. Sincere love for the baby from both parents will help to reduce the negative impact – without tug of war, with the child’s ability to fully enjoy the love of his father and mother, without hiding and without fear of being included in the list of “traitors”. Divorce is an adult choice mistake. And the child should not be responsible for it in any way. So the main concern of adults should be the most understandable for the child, the explanation of this situation in a language accessible to him, with answers to all questions.
What not to do to avoid injuring your child
Now let’s look at forbidden topics and tricks that cannot be used in a divorce in relation to a child:
- When telling your child about your divorce, do not leave him hoping that everything may still change. Many children then begin to please their parents, carefully trying to speed up the moment of reconciliation and even more difficult to relive reality;
- never insult your partner in front of your child. Trust that he will perfectly remember your telephone conversation, in which you will appeal obscene facts and express yourself without censorship. Neither knowing the details nor learning new words will do any good for the child. At the same time, letting him go to his father’s house, you, too, will not be insured against a reciprocal negative assessment of both your behavior and your actions. So it is better to immediately protect the child from everything unnecessary and harmful to his psyche;
- you should also not call the fact that you stopped loving each other as the reason for the divorce. Call it in other words: it is hard for you together, uncomfortable, you often quarrel, etc. Just do not let the fear arise in the child’s head that at some point you can stop loving him too;
- never use a child to sort out your relationship, do not blackmail him or manipulate him. Your children already had a hard time, so try to lead like adults, at least during a divorce;
- do not make amends for an incomplete family with various gifts and concessions. Such a disservice can later result in a big problem in the upbringing of a child. The only thing is, spend more time with him, do not be afraid to seem funny – play his games with him, go to the cinema or theater, go on a short trip. This will strengthen the child’s faith that the world remains the same and that there are still many good and interesting things in it.
Difficulties in the perception of divorce by children of different ages
Be that as it may, divorce is a great stress and test for children. But at every age, it can lead to different consequences in the absence of an adequate explanation and confidential communication between adults and children.
3-4 years old
Difficulties in the perception of divorce by children of different ages
Often, couples think that babies do not need to explain anything about the reasons for the long absence of one of the parents. On the contrary, they are very sensitive to the whole atmosphere in the family and their reaction to divorce is more manifested at the physiological and psycho-emotional level. They may have nightmares, problems with urinary incontinence (enuresis), etc. At the same time, be prepared for the fact that rare meetings with a father who does not live with him will evoke strong emotions in him for a long time, making him upset and worried about the separation of dad and mom. That is why psychologists recommend preparing the baby for divorce, calming him as much as possible and assuring him that everything is under control and, most importantly, he is still adored by his father and mother, as well as all his many relatives.
Age 5-7 years
It is more important to explain to a preschooler or first grader that he is not the reason for the divorce. You also need to give him clear ideas that this issue is resolved and it just needs to be accepted. At this age, children either begin to blame themselves for the separation of their parents (especially if the dad leaves for another family where there are already children). Also, this period is characterized by the search for options for parental reunification. In order not to leave hopes for the kids and not make them then suffer because of their failure, it is necessary to clearly explain that such a decision was made by both in a couple and that it only applies to relations between adults. In the relationship of parents to a child, nothing changes either in terms of love, or in matters of upbringing, or in care and guardianship.
Age 10-13 years old
Older students can already independently assess the situation, support or condemn one of the parents. At the same time, they are absolutely sure that, if desired, the family could be saved. At this age, all grievances are more hypertrophied. Therefore, very often, without the help of psychologists, you will not be able to convey to the baby your point of view on the reasons for the divorce.
Age 14-17 years old
Adolescence itself is fraught with problems. If the divorce of the parents is added to them, which is perceived as the collapse of something stable and eternal, then one can expect any unpredictable reactions from the child. Children are able to leave home, be rude and aggressive, choose an antisocial lifestyle, contacting bad companies to punish their parents for their “betrayal”. At the same time, do not forget about the options when divorce really brings peace of mind to the house. We are talking about situations in families where children grow up in an atmosphere of constant oppression by the mother’s father, with the always drunk parent, with his constant reproaches and nagging. In this case, the divorce will definitely be approved by the children and even help protect teenagers from a bad example in their own home. In any case, in order to be sure of the correct reaction of your growing child, it is better to first consult with a psychologist or even have a difficult conversation in his presence.
Age 18 and over
Of course, the closer to maturity your child is, the more he will be ready to understand you. At the same time, parental divorce is stressful for children aged 18 and over. Even having your own family will not work in your favor if the child is simply presented with a fact. You need to understand that older children may ask more questions that you will have to answer honestly. And it is on your sincerity that the child’s perception of your separation will depend. In adulthood, children quickly take the side of the victim (in their opinion), while forgetting that, as a rule, both partners are to blame for problems in marriage. But, showing parental attention and love, you can expect that over time you will be understood and will be treated with the same respect and warmth.