Every year, more than one million children in the United States experience the divorce of their parents, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Many of these children are under the age of 6. Divorce brings about a great deal of changes for a family and the children usually have trouble adjusting to this new lifestyle. Read on for some guidelines on making the transition easier for the youngest members of the family.
Here are some tips from the AAP and the American Medical Association (AMA) on telling your child about an impending divorce and helping ensure a smoother transition for everyone:
- Have both parents present to explain the situation.
- Explain divorce as a means to make Mommy and Daddy happier.
- Make it clear that your child is not the source of the problem and is in no way responsible for the failure of the marriage.
- Assure your child that Mommy and Daddy are both still his parents, even if they're no longer husband and wife.
- Don't let any personal antagonism between you and your partner into the conversation.
- Answer your child's questions honestly and age-appropriately.