Though kids’ questions may have no easy answers, it’s important that they know it’s always okay to ask. Here are ideas for answering common questions:
Will everything be different now?
With the drastic shifts that divorce or separation can cause, it might feel like everything will change. But reminding your child of the simple everyday routines and activities that will stay the same can provide a sense of security.
You might begin: “I know a lot of things have been changing, but lots of our routines will stay the same. You will always get dressed after you wake up in the morning, then eat breakfast, brush your teeth, and do your special helping job.”
Who’s going to take care of me?
With changes in routines and living arrangements, kids might begin to worry that everyone will be too busy to pay attention to and take care of them. Let them know the plan for the new routines and reassure them that no matter where they are, someone will always be there to help them.
You might begin: “Mommy and Daddy might not live together anymore, but we will always be your mommy and daddy. No matter what, that will never change, and we will both always take care of you.”
What should I tell my friends and other kids at school about the divorce?
Many young children are eager to share their home life with their friends at school. If your child wants to explain his family situation to his friends, you can help him decide what to say.
You can begin: “I bet your friends would love to know about your family. You can let them know, ‘My parents are divorced. That means they aren’t married anymore, but I still have a mom and a dad and they care about me.’” Adapt your words to fit your situation. For instance, if your child goes back and forth between two homes, you can suggest that he say, “I have two houses. Sometimes I stay with my mom at her house and sometimes I stay with my dad at his house.” He might describe some of the fun things he does at each house. Give kids some time to come up with their own answers.