Parents deciding to divorce already jumped through the hurdle of making the decision, but do they have to jump another hurdle of telling their kids why? Paula Hall, psychotherapist who works with the relationship support organization called Relate, says that there are three main factors that should be considered: the age of the child, reasons for the divorce, and the ability for the child to understand the situation.
Ultimately, the decision to tell your child the reasons why you are getting a divorce depends on each child. You want to make sure that you are not setting yourself up to answer a lot of “whys.” Although it is hard to relay reasons why you are getting a divorce without blaming your spouse, you will have to try to focus on the positives and encourage the love that is between each spouse and the child.
Other times can be completely difficult and unnecessary to explain why you are having a divorce. For example, if you are having a sexless marriage, it is acceptable to keep that from your children. Have your family go through family counseling or to a psychologist to help release any anxiety. It is oftentimes better to have an independent, third party to speak with.
When speaking with younger children, you must be careful with the words you speak when explaining why you are getting a divorce. Depending on the age of the child, they may still be learning about their own identity and their relationship with certain people. You may say simple reasons like “he doesn’t make me happy,” which can easily be manipulated to the child thinking that if he/she doesn’t make you happy, then you will leave your child too.
Although a divorce is an interruption in your child’s life, it will be worse if it prolongs further than it should without the sense of clarity about the divorce. Ultimately, you have to be mindful of the effects of telling your children why you are getting a divorce. If it is going to cause more complications in the future, it is better that you do not expose that information.