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Should you tell your kids more about your divorce?

It's natural for parents to want to shield their children from the difficult details of divorce. Moms and Dads don't want their kids to see more fighting or personal shortcomings, and many parents think that by keeping information from them, they are protecting them from hurtful situations.

However, once children reach a certain age, being in the dark about their parents' divorce could cause more problems than it solves. Below, we look at some reasons why -- according to a recent survey -- you might want to tell your kids more about your divorce than you might think.

The survey included more than 60 children who are between 10 and 17, and are all children of recently-divorced parents. According to the responses from the children, having more information and more opportunities for input can be critical for many reasons.

  1. It prevents kids from having to imagine what's going on, which can be worse than what is actually happening.
  2. It helps them feel like a valued member of the family.
  3. It can give them the opportunity to express their opinions.
  4. It can help kids feel closer to their parents when they have a better understanding of what the adults are going through.
  5. It helps children understand that they are not to blame for a divorce.

Caveats to oversharing

While this information might prompt parents to be more direct and open with their children during divorce, remember that they are still children. 

As such, using caution and avoiding oversharing is still be important. To avoid crossing lines into inappropriate or unnecessarily painful conversations, consider things like your child's age and maturity level. Be honest, but remember that they may have a very different perspective than you have.

You can also keep the focus on listening to his or her concerns instead of doing all the talking. Speaking with a counselor can also help you both navigate the complicated emotions and changes often associated with divorce.

Divorce can be difficult on parents and children alike. However, being open, honest and focusing on being respectful can make it a little easier for everyone to recover.

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