Having to give bad news to a child can be one of the hardest things for a parent in Illinois. The death of a pet or a serious family illness, for example, can be emotionally hard on children. There are ways to discuss these things that can reassure your child. The same is true if you need to tell your child that you and your spouse are getting divorced.
While you may be preoccupied with decisions about child custody, visitation rights, relocation or other particulars of your divorce, it will be critical to take the time to discuss things in an age-appropriate way with your kids. An article in Today’s Parent gives some insight into how this can be done for kids at different ages. Tweens and teens may not appear as though they like to talk but it will be important for you to communicate with them. Of special note here is to solicit their thoughts and feelings. This can be a barometer for what you need to share with them.
School-age children need strong reassurance that a divorce is not their fault. They will be able to express some feelings or ask questions and all of this should be encouraged. Children five years old and younger will need the most basic and simplest form of communication possible. Stick to the facts pertinent to them such as where they will live, who will be with them during the days and in the evenings. Maintaining structure and routine for these kids is a must as that is the best way of telling them that they will continue to be safe, secure and loved.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information about how to navigate the challenges of divorce with kids in Illinois.