How to Talk to a Toddler about Divorce
At any time couples opt to get a divorce, they get traumatized on the next course of action when it comes to their children. Questions linger to each one of their minds over how to tell the kids that they are no longer living together as a husband and wife. Toddlers, in this case, are entirely dependent on the parents and their emotions also get affected by what their parents do in their lives.
A young child who is two years old will not understand the meaning of divorce but will have questions in mind on why both parents are no longer living in the same house. As such, it’s vital to help them know that they have not lost a parent by creating enough time with them to show them the love they need at this critical age.
As you spend time, you will get wisdom on what to tell them so that they can cope up with the new changes. Bear in mind that since they do not understand the whole concept of separation, keep repeating you until it gets into their mind. With this, you will not have trouble with them later when they grow up, and they come to understand the meaning of divorce fully.
Below are some ways on how to tell them about the divorce.
- Explain who will be moving out.
For them to reduce the feeling of emptiness, let them know that one parent will be moving out. For instance, tell them that daddy will be moving out to another house and you will be left to live with them in your old home. However assure the kid that once in a while, they will be visiting daddy in the new house.
As soon as the person moving out has done so, create time and take the child to the new home that the other parent will be living in. If you are not comfortable going with him, a caregiver can help out to take the child for a visit. This will help them know that they have not been left out, and the sense of loneliness will not be felt.
- Reassure the kids of the love you have for them despite being separated.
When children experience living with both parents and all of a sudden start living with one parent, they may feel abandoned and not loved. Reassure them that you still love them and ensure you create time to have them with you to cover for any gaps of emptiness. In most cases, if they grow without the feeling of being loved, they will grow up with a rejection spirit, and once old enough to get married, they may find that the only solution to their marriages is divorce.
Therefore, keep reassuring them of the love you have for them and also let them know that even when Daddy is away, he still loves them.
- Get a way of explaining what divorce is.
Being young is hard to elaborate on the meaning of divorce. However, it’s good to be sincere and truthful to let them know that you will not get together again. For example, telling them that Dad and Mom had issues that could not allow us to live together could be a more natural way of relieving their worries.
When they feel sad and confused, let them know that that is fine but look for something to make them happy once again. Also, watch for any signs of being low and manage them as fast as possible.
However, remind them that both of you love them and will keep caring for them, taking them out for fun and also taking them to good schools.
- Right timing.
As you consider telling the toddler, watch out on the best time to break the news to him or her. For instance, tell them a day to the time you will be moving out because telling them earlier will create anxiety and open ground for many questions that will leave that kid hurting. It’s also good to break the news while you are together. Yes everyone understands how painful divorce is, but for the sake of the children, sacrifice, come together and tell them about the new developments so that if they have questions, either of you will have the opportunity to answer them and also know that they are not left alone.
Do not share with them when they are going to sleep; this can be a scary moment which could be avoided if explained to during a relaxed atmosphere possibly early in the day.
- Confirm the security of the toddler.
According to the source, at this age, toddlers believe that Daddy takes care of them in case someone invades their territory. If the father has moved out, it’s essential to reassure them that you as the mother will be strong enough to assure them that their security is not compromised. This may cause worry if not taken care of and in most case, can lead to depression. But when you speak it out with boldness, they will rely on your word and stick to it faithfully.
- Address the kid’s anxieties with wisdom.
As you break the news to the kid, she will also have a thought of what will happen after the separation. For instance,
- When will I be seeing daddy once he leaves us- In such a question, ensure you stick to the agreement that was set by the courts. For instance, if they will be going for a visit during the weekend, put it clear that every weekend, they will be staying in the other new house. In the case of co-parenting, and the agreement is to take a week in one house and a week in the other one, let them know that they will have a chance to live equally in both of the houses.
As you continue reassuring them that all is well, their emotions will not be affected a lot by the change of events, and they will feel secure and avoid the feeling of getting scared by the change of circumstances.
- Talk positive things about the other parent.
To ensure that the kids overcome the entire change process, do not talk ill of your ex in their presence, at the end of the day, this is their Daddy or Mommy, and your divorce has nothing to do with their lives. It is your personal decision. Create a feeling that they are still loved so that even as they grow, and get to understand your character, they will not turn away from because you talked ill of their parent.
- Do not give the details to the child.
Completecase says: “Avoid sharing legal issues that affect the divorce in front of that child. The fact that he is young, he is still able to contemplate that all is not well with the parents”. You could decide to talk over the issues outside the house to avoid speaking out in their presence. For instance, child custody; if they get to hear you fight over their custody, they will also have a stand on where to be, which would affect their emotions.
In case of any requirement on the interview of the kids, avoid coaching them on what to say before the courts to avoid being denied the custody due to conflict of interest.
- Make them know that it’s not their mistake that you are separating.
When the time to separate comes, the toddler may fear he is the cause of your break up. For instance, if you are strict in completion of school homework.
If one day, he did not complete, a sense of guilt may come up. He may think that it’s because of him that you want to leave. It’s essential to assure them that the separation has nothing to do with them, and this is a decision between you as parents.
- Help out the kids to turn out their feelings into words.
For a toddler, you can quickly tell it all on the face once he feels sad about it. Try and speak out those feelings so that you can help release the stress. For example, when you break out the news, there will be many questions running into the mind of that child. As you help him to talk what is in his mind like “I can see you are sad about what I have told you” reciprocate and make them know that they will still, live happily. Be a good listener to what he will say so that you can have a good approach to answer and manage the anxiety.
As the process of moving out starts, be open to communication, the child may cry when the reality is taking place but be there for them to take charge of their breaking hearts. Do not be overwhelmed by emotions when your ex is packing to avoid further breakup of the kid. Remain positive to the whole ordeal and give an assurance that their fun life will not change. This will create relieve since most of their time has more to do with fun and play.