How to talk to children about divorce in Texas

Parents who are getting divorced in Texas should take into account several considerations when breaking the news to children.

An article from Psychology Today reports that the way that parents talk to children about their divorce can have a profound impact on them even years down the road. People going through divorce in Temple, Texas, should take several factors into account when having the conversation, including the age and development of each child.

Conversation basics

Experts advise the following basics when it comes to having the conversation with the children:

  • Break the news to everyone as a couple if possible.
  • Do not share too much information regarding the specifics.
  • Reassure children about the parents' love for them.

It may sound obvious, but parents also need to remind children that they are not the reason for the end of the marriage. A child looking for an explanation may internalize the situation. The Huffington Post suggests telling children that the couple simply grew apart, even if that is not the reality of the situation.

Cater to ages

Today's Parent presents valuable information regarding how to talk to children about divorce based on their ages. For example, preschool-aged children are just starting to grasp the cause-and-effect relationship in events. Their understanding of the world focuses on themselves, and they cannot always distinguish between fantasy and reality. Children at this age may require simple, repeated explanations as to what is occurring.

Children who are 6 to 11 years old have a greater capacity to talk about their feelings. They also may be more likely to try to assign blame for the split. A child in this age range may recall an argument between parents and believe that caused the divorce. For this age range, maintaining a routine should be a priority.

Teenagers will have the best understanding of the issues surrounding the divorce. Today's Parent states that keeping an open communication with this age group is essential to prevent children from developing emotional issues. Questions should be answered honestly without assigning blame or speaking poorly of the other parent.

What to watch for

Because divorce can be emotionally difficult for everyone in the family, parents must be mindful of the warning signs that a child is not coping well. Very young children may start showing symptoms of emotional instability, anxiety and even clinginess. Changes in sleep patterns may also be attributed to stress.

Six- to 11-year-olds may voice a longing for parents to get back together. They may also exhibit anger or sadness and have difficulty in school. Teenagers may be especially prone to bitterness or anger, especially directed at just one parent who has left the home.

When parents notice that children are not coping well with divorce, they are encouraged to seek professional help. A primary care physician may be able to recommend a psychologist who can help the family adjust to the new situation. Anyone who has questions regarding divorce in Texas should consult with an attorney.