When you’re going through a divorce and have children, it’s reasonable to want to talk to your children about how they’re feeling and to get some input about what they’d like to do. Children have different needs, so it is a good idea to talk to them about what’s happening, to answer their questions and to make sure they feel supported.
The way that you talk about child custody with your child will depend on how well you and the other parent are getting along and how old your child is. For older children, you might have a one-on-one discussion about their wishes. For younger children, you and the other parent may want to show a combined front and be supportive as you explain the schedule you’ve set up for the coming months or years.
Child custody topics can be hard for young children to comprehend
For young children, it can sometimes be hard to understand why their mom or dad won’t be living with them anymore. They may wonder if they did something wrong or be confused about why they have to live in two different homes. Some may think the situation is temporary, and others may have a hard time adjusting to custody exchanges and time away from each parent.
For young children, it’s a good idea to talk to them together. You and your spouse can explain that you won’t be living together anymore, but your child will have two homes and get to spend time with both people. Of course, if you don’t plan on shared custody or have another arrangement, you should make this clear to them.
For older children, you may ask what they’d be comfortable with. How often would they like to go between homes? Are they old enough to go a few days without a custody exchange, a week, or two weeks? Which home would they be most comfortable in, or is there a preference for who they stay with during the school week? These are all excellent questions to go over.
As parents, you want to do what’s best for your children. Being clear about what’s happening is one thing that can help your children adapt as the divorce moves forward.