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How do you talk to small children about divorce?

Imagine your son or daughter is only 6 years of age. Some topics, such as divorce, will be difficult for a child this young to understand.

If your child is between the ages of 5 and 8, for example, you might want to consider the following advice to protect your child's feelings, help him or her feel loved and supported and to support your child's growth and healing after a split.

Tell your child at the right time: Don't wait until your son or daughter is about to leave for school, and don't tell him or her just before bedtime. It's best to tell a young child about divorce when you'll be around for some time to answer any questions that come up.

Say it with your other parent: Bring up the divorce topic as a united front. Make sure that the other parent is present so you can show that the two of you have come to a mutual decision.

Make it simple: Don't get complicated and don't give the specific reasons why. Simply telling your child that you and the other parent aren't getting along and you've decided to live apart may be as complicated as it needs to be.

Reinforce that it isn't your child's fault: Children may secretly blame themselves for your divorce. Make sure your child knows that this sometimes simply happens and it's not his or her fault. Also, make sure your child knows that mommy and daddy will always love him or her.

Don't blame anyone: Your child doesn't need to know whose fault the divorce is; in fact, any ideas of fault will only leave your child upset with him or herself.

There's no "perfect" time or way to talk about your divorce with a child. However, if you use care and delicacy, you can navigate this moment in the best way possible. By also moving forward with your divorce process through peaceful settlement, parents can also support the health and well-being of their children.

Source: Baby Center, "How to tell your child you're getting divorced (ages 5 to 8)," accessed Nov. 03, 2017

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