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Too Young to Understand Divorce

Preschoolers and Divorce: Are They Too Young to Understand Divorce?

Too Young to Understand Divorce

 

About 42 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce and in many cases young children are involved. Divorce is a stressful process and a time of change for all members of the family. Everything that once felt familiar and safe now feels unsafe and uncertain.

For adults, it means letting go of the dream to grow old together. It involves moving, splitting all assets and liabilities, adjusting to a new financial situation, getting used to being single again, changes in your social life, and dealing with all the emotions that accompany all these changes.

Sometimes, as a parent, you need so much energy to cope with the changes at hand, both emotional and material, that you may forget (or not know how) to explain to your children what is going to change for them and how this might make them feel. As a newly divorced parent, you may simply not be able to foresee what is going to change for your child (and yourself) yet.

Many parents have questions about how to approach their child(ren) regarding divorce-related issues. Sometimes parents don’t know how to talk to their young child(ren) about this sensitive topic. Sometimes parents have the belief that their child will not understand if they try to explain what is going on.

But are preschool children too young to understand about divorce?

The answer is NO. Even preschool children can understand more than you think when you talk to them in developmentally appropriate language. Young children can have intense feelings, but they don’t yet possess the words or the mental capacity to express how they feel. Even if children don’t talk yet, they feel something is going on and ‘speak’ through changes in their behavior.

Some children may express their distress and confusion by showing aggressive or noncompliant behavior. Other children may temporarily regress to an earlier stage in their development where they felt safe and sheltered. Parents and caregivers may notice more clinging or ‘baby-like’ behavior, bedwetting or soiling their pants (when a child was previously potty trained). Regressive behavior is a coping mechanism to deal with feeling unsafe or insecure.

Often adults don’t understand or misinterpret the behavior of a child who is going through the turmoil of a divorce. It is important, while parents are going through a divorce, to be aware of the needs of the children.

If parents fail to give children an explanation they can understand, children may fill in the ‘blanks’ by themselves. Young children often think it is their fault (because they were behaving badly) that their parents are separated.

Here are some tips to help talk to your preschooler about divorce:

  • It is important to let children know what is going to happen (For example: “Daddy is moving to another house but you will still see him”).
  • Even if you don’t have a clear idea about the parenting plan yet, the child needs to be reassured that the other parent is not leaving him or her.
  • Reassure your child that the divorce is not his or her fault.
  • Explain that separation is your choice. You and the other parent didn’t get along, and both parents think this is better for all of you.
  • Young children don’t need to know details about the reason for divorce.
  • They do need to know that, even if parents don’t live together, they never stop being Mommy and Daddy. They keep caring for and loving him or her.
  • Don’t punish children for regressive behavior and give them extra attention and reassurance.

For more information, check out Nina Has Two Houses. This illustrated children’s book helps young children and their parents, who are going through a divorce, adjust to the new situation. The book can help explain to the child what he or she may be going through. It can open up the topic of divorce while it gives parents the necessary tools to talk with their children about the situation and accompanying emotions. Many helpful hints for parents and caregivers are included in the book to help parents deal with important co-parenting issues.

Children’s book Nina Has Two Houses is available on Amazon.com in English and Spanish (Nina Tiene Dos Hogares). Like the book on Facebook and find helpful tips for parents on www.facebook.com/NinaHasTwoHouses

Follow Danielle Jacobs, LMHC on Twitter @75748135 for tips on divorce, parenting, and relationships.

The post Preschoolers and Divorce: Are They Too Young to Understand Divorce? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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support and understand your teen

21 Tips to Help You Support And Understand Your Teen During Divorce

support and understand your teen

 

It’s normal if a teenager doesn’t know what to think when their parents get a divorce. It can be very shocking. The thoughts and feelings going through their mind are usually confusing and scary, having very little idea of what might happen to them or their family.

Some questions they might have are …

“Do we have to move?”

“Will I be able to go to college?”

“Is this my fault?”

“Will I see my father?”

“What will my friends think of me?”

“Why me?”

In many instances, teens might feel like they can’t talk with their parents about how they feel. They might be embarrassed or might not know how to express themselves about it.

But, most parents and a lot of other people want to be supportive of a young person as they go through such a challenging time. The hard part is being sensitive when approaching the situation or knowing what to say.

I think sometimes keeping it simple is best. All a parent might need to do is simply tell their teenager … “I’m here for you.” This will give them an open window to talk when they’re ready.

Below are 21 tips to give you more ideas to help you support and understand your teen during divorce.

1. Provide quality and simple support at a time when everything seems chaotic.

2. Be patient with their behavior.

3. Keep both parents involved.

4. Respond with consistent support and set boundaries.

5. Do more listening than talking. Teenagers going through divorce are usually confused and need to be listened to and heard.

6. Keep visible conflict, heated discussions, and legal talk away from your teen.

7. Support their feelings even if you don’t agree.  Emotions aren’t always logical.

8. Acknowledge their emotions and continue to guide them with conversation helping them talk about their present feelings.

9. Teens need to know you care and that they are worth being cared about.

10. Find another person they can talk to such as a mentor, friend, therapist or relative.

11. Keep your teenagers routine as normal as possible.

12. Find them a support group with people their own age who are experiencing something similar.

13. Giving teens the time they need to think and experience divorce is ok. Sometimes it takes a long time for teens to process what they have been through and for healing to take place.

14. Divorce can be a big change, adjustments and living arrangements should be handled gradually.

15. Parents need to understand and be ok with what is comfortable with your teen with living arrangements. It can be tough to decide especially when couples disagree. But also keep in mind that some teens are able to thrive by spending half their time with each parent, others need the stability of having one “home” and visiting with the other parent.

16. Whatever arrangement is chosen, your child’s needs should come first. Avoid getting involved in a tug of war as a way to “win.”

17. When deciding how to handle birthdays, holidays, and vacations, stay focused on what’s best for your teen and what they want.

18. It’s important for parents to resolve issues themselves and not ask your teen to choose.

19. Get help dealing with your own painful feelings about the divorce. If you adjust, your teen will too.

20. Recognize stress. Talk with a child therapist for guidance on how to handle specific problems you’re concerned about.

21. Any type of change can be challenging. Believe everything will be OK.

The post 21 Tips to Help You Support And Understand Your Teen During Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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20 Divorce Means For Those Who Understand The Realities Of Divorce

20 Divorce Means For Those Who Understand The Realities Of Divorce

A divorce wouldn’t be complete without conflict, anger, and emotional pain. However, for those who experienced a lot of hardships and complications in their marriage, divorce might mean freedom and getting their lives back. Lucky them!

If you or someone you know has been through a divorce we promise, it will get better. So, to help you remember all the good times (sarcasm), check out these divorce memes we’ve collected just for you. Enjoy!

20 Divorce Memes

1. Raise your hand if you’ve dealt with this!

divorce meme

 

2. Let’s not hold our breaths!

divorce meme

 

3. Fingers crossed!

divorce meme

 

4. I know one of those “persons.”

divorce meme

 

5. Seriously, this isn’t hard to do!

divorce meme

 

6. Any good mother will make this look easy. 

divorce meme

 

7. Crazy? Who me? Nah!

divorce meme

 

8. Can you say, narcissistic fathers?

divorce meme

 

9. Get on out of here now!

divorce meme

 

10. If you’ve got any damn sense at all you do.

divorce meme

 

11. Don’t you dare forget!

divorce meme

 

12. Those little eyes and ears!

divorce meme

 

13. Head held high and a smile on your face.

divorce meme

 

14. Love yo self!

divorce meme

 

15. No more dysfunction junction for those babies!

divorce meme

 

16. Sounds like someone needs help with the bills!

divorce meme

 

17. When he says no one else will want you, he doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about.

divorce meme

 

18. We’re going to harness that power too!

divorce meme

 

19. Listen, just NEVER settle!

divorce meme

 

20. He is her problem now!

divorce meme

The post 20 Divorce Means For Those Who Understand The Realities Of Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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