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Discussing child custody changes with kids of all ages

Deciding to divorce is never an easy choice for Colorado parents. Discussing the decision and the resulting child custody changes with one's children is even more daunting a task. Parents should prepare for those conversations ahead of time and with an eye toward tailoring the talks to meet the emotional maturity levels of their children.

Very young children do not have the ability to process complex information, so parents of toddlers can simply bypass the discussions altogether. Young children may have questions for their parents as they grow older, but there is no need to delve into the matter when they are too young to understand. Once a child has reached preschool age, parents should give the children the basic facts about the changes ahead, while reassuring them that they will always be loved and supported and that many of their routines and traditions will remain the same.

Children who are in the elementary school years may have more questions about divorce, and parents should be ready to address those questions. Often, children at this age will ask why parents have stopped loving one another and may have fears that one or both parents might stop loving them as well. Parents must assure them that the bond between a parent and a child is unbreakable.

Older children will often have emotionally charged reactions to the announcements of divorce and can react in a number of different ways. Some will be angry and resentful, while others will simply be sad. Some children will withdraw as they try to process the information. Parents should remain supportive and be ready to have multiple conversations as children adjust to the news.

When Colorado parents are able to understand their children's likely responses to divorce and child custody changes, it becomes easier to have these difficult conversations. The most important thing is that children understand that they will always be loved and supported, no matter how a family's structure may change. This allows them to move forward in the process of adapting in healthy manners.

Source: The Huffington Post, ""Mommy & Daddy are Getting a Divorce..." AN AGE-BASED GUIDE ON HOW TO TELL YOUR CHILDREN", Ashley Tate Cooper, March 9, 2016

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