There is a common theme when you talk with children of divorce: Whether the divorce was good or bad, pretty or ugly, simple or complex, they often just struggled to understand why it was happening or why their lives had to change.
One woman recounted yelling at her father’s car to try to get him to turn around as he drove off. She noted that she had a younger sister, just 3 years old, who certainly couldn’t comprehend the changes that were taking place. Even long after divorce, accounts from these now-adult children note that it was difficult to understand.
The problem is that children cannot always grasp the adult factors that are driving the divorce. Maybe your spouse struggles with addiction, and you’re worried about your safety. Nothing has happened yet, and the kids can’t read between the lines. You know you’re trying to do what’s best for them, but even explaining that may not help them really grasp it until they’re older.
This is why it’s important to be so careful with children during divorce and when figuring out your child custody plan. Don’t expect them to understand it all right away. Give them time to ask questions. Be open and honest with them as much as you can. Get their feedback and show them that they are loved. That’s the best way to help them adjust to this new normal.
This is just part of putting the children’s needs first and considering their best interests, but it is a mindset you want to keep you as you look into all of your custody options and rights.