When couples in Clinton Township, Michigan, plan to divorce, they may have a fairly clear understanding of the difficulties they will go through. Children typically do not know what to expect, which can put them at risk for a lot of anxiety as their parents navigate the legal process and make the decisions that will affect the entire family.
According to the American Psychological Association, even though the choice to separate may be best for everyone in the long run, the way parents communicate with their children from the beginning can make a difference in how quickly they adjust to the divorce. This usually involves cooperation between the parents, both to address their personal conflicts privately and determine the best plan for telling the children.
Experts recommend that children be told of the coming divorce some time before it happens to give them time to adjust to the idea. Exactly what parents need to say depends on how old the children are, but Helpguide.org advises that details about living arrangements after the divorce should be included in the discussion. In addition to addressing the changes, pointing out the things that stay the same can provide some peace.
While parents need to invite questions and be prepared to answer them honestly, the details about why the marriage failed may not be appropriate. A brief explanation is best, with more emphasis placed on the relationships between the child and each parent. Expressing affection and reinforcing these bonds is one of the most important ways to restore a child’s sense of security throughout the transition.