April 05, 2016
Divorce is hard on everyone in a family, and young children may experience difficulty understanding why mom and dad are getting divorced. Parents may experience stress in answering their child’s questions about the divorce. Keeping the answers to these questions simple is important so the child can better understand and parents can eliminate any fears the child may have. However, divorce is a complex adult issue that proves difficult to summarize for the comprehension of a young child. What can a parent do?
Various resources exist for parents with children going through a divorce. Such resources help children to cope with their parents’ separation and child custody issues that may arise. Providing the child with constant reassurance and affirmations of love are important when helping children subject to divorce. Certainty helps children to feel safe. Children must know that although family life may change due to the divorce, the love each parent feels for his or her child does not change. Parents must convey these messages to their children.
As a parent getting divorced, numerous outside resources exist that can help you explain the divorce to your child. Additionally, these resources may offer guidance on how to best help your child cope with changes to the family as a result of the divorce. An online search can put numerous articles with useful tips and information at your fingertips.
Children understand adult concepts best when the adult explains the concept in a way that makes the concept relatable to the child. For example, according to an article in Time, the children’s television show Sesame Street introduced a character whose parents divorced to help children viewers cope with divorce. Sesame Street introduced Abby Cadabby, a pink and sparkly fairy whose parents divorced, in an online segment. In the online segment, Abby, Elmo and Rosita draw pictures of their houses. Abby draws two separate pictures, explaining to Elmo and Rosita that she lives in two homes – one with her mother and one with her father.
The segment depicts Abby as a well-adjusted child who faced many emotions related to her parents’ divorce. However, in the end Abby experiences happiness despite these many emotions. Abby serves as a role model for young children by demonstrating that like Abby, the children can also experience happiness after their parents divorce.
The Sesame Street segment may serve as a useful tool to teach your child about divorce, as children are often familiar, if not fans, of the show. Parents and children can watch the segment together and discuss how Abby adjusted to her parents’ divorce, discuss your child’s feelings, and answer any questions.