When couples decide to divorce, one of the initial challenges is telling the kids. It is a difficult conversation to have no matter what ages the kids are, but when it is a young child, there are certain ways the parents should approach it.
According to Today’s Parent, young children, unlike adults, do not see divorce as a complex situation, but they view it from a self-centered and real place. Parents need to understand that kids between the ages of three and five believe they are the center of the world and, while they are starting to assert independence, they still are very dependent. They sometimes confuse reality with fantasy, and while they have feelings, it is challenging to talk about them.
All of these results in young children thinking the divorce is their fault, and they may not fully grasp the concept. The focus of parents should be to give the child reassurance and the feeling of stability. It is important to give consistent nurturing and care and to keep routines as normal as possible.
According to Psychology Today, parents should deliver the news together to show that they are still united when it comes to parenting. Use simple language and give facts considering what is important to the child. For example, explain simply who the child will live with, where the other parent is staying etc. Let the child know that whichever parent the child is staying with will take care of his or her needs.
The child may have questions, and it is better to provide succinct answers. More than likely, the child will have more questions as time goes by, so prepare to have several discussions around the topic.