Children do adjust to divorce and custody, but it can take time. As parents who want to do what is in your children’s best interest of your children, it’s important for you to know what you can do to make the entire situation easier.
Of course, depending on the ages of your children, they may have varying levels of maturity. Some may understand divorce and why it was necessary. Others may be too young to understand much at all. It’s a good idea for you and your spouse to sit down and talk about how you want to approach the topic with your children, especially when they vary in age. Here are a few things to think about.
Toddlers may have trouble understanding
Toddlers are young enough that they require support from both parents. They may not understand the reason why mom or dad isn’t around as much as usual. You’ll need to be very clear with toddlers, but in an age-appropriate manner. For example, “Mom and dad live in different homes now.”
Kids might have trouble balancing their emotions
If they struggle to balance their emotions, you are in a good position to help. This is a teaching moment. Discuss the appropriate ways to express feelings, such as crying or talking about what they feel. You can also talk about inappropriate ways of expressing feelings, like hitting or screaming.
Older children are becoming independent, but they still need support
While it is true that older children are becoming more independent, they still need reassurance and support. Even teens need to understand what’s happening and why, within reason. You may want to include them in custody discussions and work together to help them cope with the changes that are happening.
These are three things to consider as your children go through divorce with you. Your attention to them will matter.