Talking to Your Kids About Divorce in Washington

Getting divorced isn’t just about lawyers and money if done wrong children can suffer trauma as a result of the process.

Parents, do not add to your already overwhelming amount of anxiety, research indicates that most children adjust well within two years after a divorce. On the flip side, “children often experience more problems when parents remain in high-conflict marriages instead of splitting up,” according to the American Psychological Association.

Tips for Telling Your Kids

How do you tell a child that his/her parents are breaking up? Whether you are both separating or going straight into divorce the experts agree that telling children as early as possible is key.

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry offers these tips:

  • Do not keep it a secret or wait until the last minute.
  • Tell your child together with your spouse if possible.
  • Keep things simple and straight-forward and don’t share more information than your child is asking for.
  • Tell them the divorce is not their fault.
  • Admit that this will be sad and upsetting for everyone.
  • Reassure your child that you both still love them and will always be their parents.
  • Do not discuss each other’s faults or problems with the child.

Psychologist Kevin D. Arnold, Ph.D., for Psychology Today, stresses the importance of being honest with children when answering their questions, even when those questions are tough. Perhaps addressing this list of “asked and unspoken questions” from may help:

  • Was this my fault?
  • Could I have done anything to make you stick together?
  • How about now? If I promise to behave, will that make you get back together?
  • Will you still love me, even if you don’t live with me?
  • How often will I get to see you?
  • Do I have to move?
  • Do I have to change schools?
  • Will we have enough money?

Who Can Help

There aren’t many situations in life we can all agree on, but this appears to be one of them. All the experts concur on being candidly compassionate with your child. While divorce may be traumatic, it can still be done in a healthy way with an aim towards a happy resolution for all.

If you need assistance with divorce, adoption, alimony or any other family law issue, contact Ashby Law. Our firm employs a team of attorneys who are constantly keeping current with the ever-evolving laws in Washington State.

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