It is your duty as a parent to protect your child. You may think your child could be hurt by knowing their parents are no longer together. Instead, your child may be hurt more by not knowing. Sudden shifts in their lives can stunt their emotional growth.
Here is what you should tell your child:
Make sure your child understand that the divorce isn’t their fault
Your child might immediately perceive the divorce or separation as their fault. This happens all too often because your child has not developed strong critical thinking skills at this stage of their development.
Your child can perceive their minor actions (misbehaving, expressions of frustration or crying) as having great consequences. You should reassure your child from feeling guilty about the divorce or separation. Explaining in simple terms that you and your spouse had differences and are unrelated to your child can help ease their fears.
Explain what might change after the divorce or separation
There will be many changes once a divorce or separation is settled that may affect your child. If it appears your child may be going from one home to the next, your child should know. If your child will be changing schools, tell your child.
Your child may even need to know if they will not be seeing one of their parents as often. Explaining what changes will occur can help your child ease into a new routine.
You should expect your child to ask questions. One such question may be, when will everything change? If you only recently considered divorce or separation then you may need legal help to establish a timeframe.