Divorce is a difficult issue for all children to handle, but at the preschool age, your child may have a more difficult time understanding exactly what’s going on when mommy and daddy decide to part ways. It’s difficult for a preschooler to understand that her daddy still loves her even though he lives in a different house now or that she’s not the reason that her mommy’s crying. Over time, she’ll gain a deeper understanding of what divorce means, but for now, you need to explain the basics in a language that she understands.
Work Out the Details Beforehand
Work out the details before you tell her. You need to determine which parent she is going to live with and what visiting arrangements are going to be. These are questions that are bound to come up when you tell her.
Talk To Your Child Together
Talk to your child together. It’s important for him to see his parents together for this talk. It allows him to see that both parents mean it and gives him the opportunity to ask either parent a question. It also prevents either one of you from badmouthing the other, at least initially.
Use Simple Language
Explain the details about the divorce in simple language. For example, you’ll want to say that daddy is going to live in a new house, but that she’ll get to see him on Tuesdays and on the weekend. As for the reason for the divorce, you can say something like, “Mommy and daddy fight too much.” You don’t need to go into details.
Stress Your Love for Your Kid
Stress your love for your child. It’s important for him to understand that while your love for each other has changed, your love for him will always stay constant.
Answer all questions honestly. Your child may have a lot of questions initially–or they may not come up until some time has passed. At first, a preschooler may not realize that her family is different than that of other kids. When she does, she’ll start to ask questions. Give her the answers she needs in age-appropriate language.
- Your child may blame himself for the divorce. Make sure he understands that there wasn’t anything that he did to cause or contribute to the divorce.