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How do you tell a young school-age child about your divorce?

When you plan to get a divorce, it can be hard to figure out how to tell your child. It's particularly difficult when your child is old enough to understand that you're separating from his or her father or mother but not really old enough to understand the nuances of a divorce.

Between the ages of 5 and 8, your child will understand that a divorce means big changes. School-aged children may have already heard about their friends coming from divorced families and have an idea of what a divorce is. Don't be surprised if your child has preconceptions about divorce that surprise you.

To address those preconceptions, you need to sit down with your child and talk about divorce in an age-appropriate manner. For example, tell your child that you and his or her father or mother have decided to live in different homes. Explain that you both still want to be a part of your child's life. Take time to listen to your child's concerns immediately. Some children may feel angry or sad, so give them time to express themselves without feeling the need to punish them for their reactions.

Fortunately, after you talk about divorce with your child, your child is likely to begin adapting to any changes quickly. The way you react to the situation can have a lot to do with the way you child reacts to the changes, so try to keep the divorce as amiable as possible. With the right conversations, your child will come through the divorce easily and adjust to the changes in your life.

Source: Baby Center, "How to tell your child you're getting divorced (ages 5 to 8)," accessed Oct. 05, 2017

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