A divorce, as we all know, can be extremely harmful to children irrespective of their age. Children of divorce can become estranged from one parent, may blame themselves for the divorce and can even resent their parents in later life. Fortunately, though, the majority of the negative effects of divorce can be negated through effective parenting. This starts with informing your child of the divorce and explaining how it will affect them and their living arrangements in terms that they can understand.
Generally speaking, it will be easier to clarify matters when the affected children are older. The parents will still need to consider what they intend to say to the child carefully, but the older the child the better their understanding of romantic relationships and the more receptive they will be to a literal – though still sensitive – explanation.
Helping a younger child to understand divorce is a far more problematic task, however. Young children process information in a manner that is almost alien to adults and there is a specific way of effectively disclosing information to them as a result. Few adults possess the skills that are required to do this, however, the obvious exception being those who are trained to work with children. Fortunately, many people who work with children write books for children. Better still, many of them have written children’s books about divorce and these can be an invaluable resource when helping younger children understand divorce and how it will affect them.
This may sound implausible, but you only need to think back to your childhood and how much you learnt from the stories that you were told at home and at school to realise just how useful these books can be. They’re relatively easy to find too. Retail giant Amazon even has a section dedicated to them.
Reading to a child has several other benefits too. It improves literacy, enhances bonding and – best of all – can entertain both parent and child.
So, if you’re due to file for divorce and have a young child, one of these books could be one of the best purchases you’ve ever made.