If you’re one of many Ohio parents who are currently preparing for divorce, you likely have a thousand things on your mind at any given moment. From thinking about your future and how to execute a fair and agreeable settlement to helping your kids adapt to a new lifestyle, divorce can be quite challenging at times. Regarding your children, like most good parents, you have their best interests in mind.

You may wonder what the best way might be to explain the upcoming changes in their lives. Divorce need not ruin your kids’ futures. In fact, children are typically quite resilient and adaptable by nature. There is no one way to talk to them about divorce; however, by keeping certain issues in mind, you may have a more positive experience. It’s also a good idea to know where to seek support if a problem arises.

Age matters

The things you discuss with your teenagers would no doubt be different than issues you talk about with pre-teens or toddlers. Part of helping kids come to terms with the idea that their parents are getting divorced involves choosing your words carefully, so as not to give them more information than their maturity level allows them to handle.

The youngest may not fully grasp the concept

Toddlers live in the present moment, which is something we adults often say we wish we could do more of, right? When it comes to explaining divorce, however, your youngest children may not have the ability to grasp the concept of future events or to understand cause and effect. Your discussion with 3 to 5 year olds may simply center around telling them that their other parent has a new house or that they are going to visit their other parent because he or she no longer lives with them.

Recognizing teenagers’ desire for autonomy

Older kids want to have a say in their own lives. Your children may have numerous feelings about your divorce and it’s critical to their well-being that they know you are there to support them and listen to them without them having to fear that they’ll upset you if they share negative reactions to the situation.

Positive outcomes possible

You may also want to stress to your teenagers, and younger children too, that your divorce is not their fault and that it’s okay for them to love both their parents and to continue to have active lives and spend ample time with both their parents as well. With strong support systems in place, you can help your kids cope and move on toward a new and successful future.