Divorce affects every member of the family, even the littlest ones. After announcing your divorce, it is common to discover that your kids can have vastly different reactions. While one kid may be glad to see the fighting over with, another may cling to the hope of getting you and your ex-spouse back together again. Sadly, it is heart wrenching to hear that little voice begging you to give it another try with their mommy or daddy. When talking about divorce with kids, it is important to keep it age-appropriate and positive. Depending upon how your child broaches the topic, you can fall back on one of these five answers for when kids question why you cannot all live in the same house again.
We Will Always Love You No Matter What
Watching as the two people that they thought loved each other more than anyone in the world breakup can causes kids to question what love really means. For many kids, divorce creates a fear that their parents will also stop loving them. When this happens, your child’s attempt to get you back together may be their way of reaffirming their belief in love. Let your child know that you both love them very much, and that your divorce has nothing to do with your feelings for the family.
We Understand That This Is Hard
In some instances, your child may be just venting their frustration. After all, a divorce means that many changes are ahead and your child may not like most of them. Spend time talking to your child about the parts of the divorce that they find challenging and try to work together to find a solution. For instance, you might help your child set up a time to call the other parent if they are missing them in the evenings. Often, just letting your kid know that you understand how hard it is to accept the divorce gives them reassurance that their opinion is heard.
Let’s Talk About Our New Living Arrangements
Fear of the unknown is enough to drive your kid to try to rekindle your relationship with your ex. When a kid hears about a divorce, their first instinct is to try to keep things the same since the thought of changing schools or moving to a new home is enough to make them panic. Naturally, you will want to try to keep things as stable as possible for your child. Letting them know what your plans are helps them feel more in control over their future.
Sometimes Families Change to Get Better
The first few weeks after your divorce are bound to be hard since you will be dealing with things such as trying to rebuild your life. Your child may also pick up on your sadness, anger or guilt. Let your child know that things sometimes have to get worse before they can get better. If necessary, arrange for your child to attend counseling with you to help them work through their emotional pain. Over time, your child will begin to see that having both parents happy allows the whole family to benefit.
You Can Talk to Either of Us Anytime
Children know the power of strength in numbers and they may fear the loss of one of their parents. After years of always having two parents around, it is scary to feel like one may no longer be there. If you suspect this is your kid’s reason for wanting you to stay together, let them know that one parent moving out does not mean that they are gone forever. In fact, you can let your child know that they can call or visit the other parent any time that it is feasible. These times together will help reinforce their bond.
When you think about it, your kid has likely had you and their other parent together for most, if not all, of their life. Respect this by giving your child an age-appropriate answer to their questions about the possibility of you two working things out. This way they can begin the process of accepting the divorce and moving on.