During a tumultuous time, children often struggle to cope with stress.
A divorce in the family is often a trigger for these feelings, and knowing how to help alleviate some of that stress can lead to a healthier relationship between you and your child.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most important part of discussing the news is being honest but not too detailed. There is no need to get into personal problems or disagreements between you and your ex-spouse.
Being direct and honest, as well as admitting that it is normal to feel upset, can help soothe a child. He or she may not know what to expect from the situation, but communicating clearly can help make it seem less scary.
Stick to a schedule
Staying consistent with your discipline and rules is important. Since your child is already experiencing huge changes in his or her daily life, consistency can help calm him or her down.
Being clear about boundaries, as well as resisting the temptation to shower your child extra toys or later bedtimes, are some ways to show the rules still matter even in this new situation. Additionally, do not badmouth your ex-spouse or attempt to ask invasive questions about your ex-spouse after your child visits him or her.
Expect a reaction
Children may exhibit wildly different behaviors after learning their parents are divorcing, such as bouts of anger and clinginess. Some younger children may not completely understand what is going on at first.
Expect to see outbursts or for them to wrongly assume you and your ex-spouse will stay together. Seeking out a therapist for your child if you notice the behavior continuing could be helpful as well.