Helping children understand divorce

Children may be able to better understand the implications of a divorce if parents present a united front, use the right language and talk about the emotions.

While divorces are not entirely uncommon in Virginia, children may still struggle to understand why their parents are splitting up. According to the USA Today, 10.2 percent of Virginia's population is divorced. With so many divorcees in the state, there could be a significant number of children affected by dissolved marriages. If children are a part of the equation, partners may need to take extra steps in their divorce proceedings to ensure the young family members understand and can cope with this big life change.

Present a united front

When a couple chooses to end a marriage, their relationship is likely not in the best place. Even so, parents should try to talk to the children about the divorce together. This united front gives the kids a chance to ask questions with both parents present. The mother and father duo can work together to assure the children that their relationships with each parent will not change.

Be mindful of the language used

Whether the couple decides to talk about the divorce together or in a one-on-one setting, the language used to describe the end of the marriage can affect how children cope with the life change. Not only should the adults strive to use language the child can understand, but it is also important for the tone of the conversation to stay positive. This means the adults should do their best to not say negative things about the other parent or lay blame on one of the parents.

When describing the divorce, parents should try to use concrete language. Thoroughly describing the new living arrangements can help the children feel more confident in the upcoming change. If the mother and father use uncertain terms, the kids may fear they will not be able to see one of their parents regularly. Clear language can also ensure children do not blame themselves for the end of the parent's relationship.

Talk about the emotions

The end of a marriage is often a sad time even if both members of the couple are onboard with the separation. Children may be able to better understand the situation if the parents are willing to discuss the emotions tied to the divorce. For example, acknowledging that the divorce is sad can help children understand that their emotions are normal. Parents should prepare the children for the wide range of feelings they may have during the legal proceedings.

When Virginia parents decide to start the divorce proceedings, they need to make sure that their children have a healthy grasp on the subject. It may be helpful for anyone going through this life change to work with an attorney and counselor familiar with this type of family law case.