40%-50% of all married couples in America end up getting divorced, and a lot of them have kids that have to except a new reality that involves two homes. One of the biggest struggles that every parent who is going through a divorce faces is telling their children that the life they knew has come to an end, and they are going to step into a new beginning they didn't ask for.
Excepting the fact that your parents are getting divorced is tough at any age, so it is important to ease the blow as much as possible. To do that, you have to adjust your tone and the way you tell your kids about their parents' divorce according to their age and ability to grasp what's happening:
0-5 Years Old
From ages 0 to 5, babies and toddlers are completely dependent on their parents, and they have no ability to comprehend complex matters. They also lack the ability to see into the future, and the border between reality and fantasy is blurry for them.
in order to make the transition easier for kids in this age group, you have to try and maintain their routine as much as possible – breakfast, play time, bed time etc. They need to feel stable and not like the rug is getting pulled from under them, so it is also important to speak to them in a way they'll understand. When telling 0-5-year-old kids about divorce and what will happen next, keep you sentences short and as concise as possible. In addition, try to make sure your toddlers understand that you and your partner made a decision that has nothing to do with them, and make it clear that mommy and daddy may be separating, but you all are still family.
6-11 Years Old
Kids ages 6-11 are better at expressing themselves than younger kids, and they also have the ability to understand the feelings of others. At this point kids also have relationships outside their home, but that doesn't go to say they'll take the news easily. at 6-11 kids see the world in black and white and they may feel guilty or assign the blame for the divorce on themselves or their parents. Like with younger kids, tell your 6-11-year-old kids that your decision had nothing to do with them and that you will remain a close family. If they show signs of distress, they may find it difficult to talk about their feelings directly, so speak in broad terms, like "divorce can be hard for kids and they might feel sad about it" so they feel more comfortable opening up to you.
12-14 Years Old
Kids ages 12-14 can understand complex issues, and even be a part of the decision-making process as a family. When going through a divorce, remember that teenagers already have changes in their lives, so tread lightly. Keep them involved in big decisions having to do with them so they feel like they have a voice and that it matters. If your kids push you away when you try do to it, don't give up easily. Many kids have said that they were testing their parents to see how much they really cared about what they felt and had to say, so even if it's hard – talk to your teens and let them express their opinions.
Being a child in the middle of a divorce is difficult at any age, but you, the parents, can make things easier. In order to keep your family together, be aware of any behavioral changes your children are going through, take into account their age and treat them accordingly. It may be hard, but you can get though the divorce in one piece, even one of you moved out of the family home.