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Is it time to tell your children that you're getting divorced?

Most Tennessee parents would agree that numerous types of issues could arise in life that they don't share with their children. For instance, if you have money problems, you may tell your kids that you'll be cutting back on social events or spending, but you might not necessarily give them the finer details of your situation so as not to worry them or place undue burdens on them that they aren't mature enough to handle. 

If you're getting divorced, your children must know. It's understandable that you might worry about discussing the issue with them, especially if you think one or more of them will have a negative reaction. There are several things to keep in mind when talking to kids about divorce. This post is designed to help you determine how to approach the topic with various age groups. You have hopefully begun to build a strong support system as well, to help you and your kids adapt to a new lifestyle. 

Do you have toddlers in your household? 

The toddler years are adventurous and exasperating in more ways than one. When it comes to trying to explain to your youngest children that you and their other parent are no longer going to be married, you may want to think about the following issues to help you choose your words: 

This age group often confuses imaginary situations with reality. Toddlers cannot always grasp the truth because they don't have the capacity to reason, which can make it difficult to tell fact from fiction. 

Toddlers live "in the now." They can't comprehend future and do not have the ability to understand cause and effect.  

Your two to 5-year-olds definitely experience a wide range of emotions, but do not typically possess the ability to express themselves to discuss how they're feeling and why.  

When speaking to toddlers about divorce, your conversation will probably be quite basic. Toddlers are mostly dependent on parents and caregivers for all their needs. By continuing to provide constant love and support, you may find that your youngest children are resilient and adaptable.  

Talking to pre-teens and teenagers is more complex 

You may witness one of your older kids regressing or becoming introverted regarding news of your divorce. Another may act rebellious. Discussing divorce issues with older kids will be less stressful if you consider the following ideas ahead of time: 

Older kids are seeking autonomy. They want you to recognize their independence. Asking their opinions and allowing them to make certain decisions for themselves goes a long way to developing trust and a strong bond.  

Your kids love both their parents. They will not benefit from negative comments about their other parent. In addition, if you or your soon-to-be ex try to pit your kids against each other, it is likely to backfire in a big way. 

Your divorce will greatly affect your older children's lives. They need reassurance that you will be there to support them and they may need to hear that your divorce is not their fault. 

Getting life back on track 

Various challenges may arise as you and your children adapt to your new lifestyle. If you're having problems accomplishing your goals regarding custody, support or visitation, you can seek outside support to help you explore possible solutions to keep things moving forward in a positive direction. 

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Law Office of Sam Byrd
3828 Dayton Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37415

Phone: 423-954-7949
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