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Talking Divorce with Young Children

Divorcing or separating parents of preschool-aged children must figure out when, where and how to tell their youngsters about the divorce and the ensuing changes.

Discussions about divorce require an age-appropriate approach and with three- and four-year-olds, that may well include a lot of repetition.

Focus on Their Immediate World

As noted by Today’s Parent, the preschool brain has yet to develop the ability to think too far beyond the child’s own world or experiences. With this in mind, parents should focus discussions about a parental divorce on exactly what the changes mean for the child. For example, parents should explain to kids who will drive them to or from school, who will read them bedtime stories and who will take them to the park.

Be Prepared to Repeat Conversations

Just like a young child may want to read the same book over and over again, they may ask the same questions about the divorce repeatedly. Parents should prepare to calmly reiterate information to help their children grasp and understand their changing reality.

Host a Family Meeting

When planning to talk with kids for the first time about the divorce, Psychology Today recommends that both parents together break the news to the children. This may help support a less hostile and less blamed-filled environment and provide kids a sense of comfort amidst the change.

At the first meeting about a parental divorce, conversations may focus on what changes lie ahead and what things may remain constant for the children. All kids should attend the first meeting, after which parents may talk with kids one-on-one.

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