Daddy, why are you and mommy getting a divorce? Tips for parents on how to talk to the kids about divorce

On talking to kids about divorce
Kids are totally devastated by divorce a lot of times. Studies show that divorce affects kids differently depending on their ages. Teens handle divorce differently from tweens and tweens handle divorce differently from younger kids. Kids who are under thirteen, though, definitely have a tough time with divorce. Typically, they are still in awe of their parents and depend on their parents for guidance, love, support, everything and their entire world, revolves around the security that comes from having a mom and dad raising them in a shared home. Then all of a sudden, there is all this war and then there are two homes and maybe new schools and lots of fights and court appearances and meetings in secret rooms with judges who want to know who the poor kid prefers to live with – mommy or daddy.
Sometimes, kids feel if their parents stopped loving each other, then maybe their parents no longer love the children. Sometimes, they feel pressured to pick sides. It’s very stressful. I can’t personally imagine what that could be like. Luckily for me, I am not the product of divorce and so, I still have that source of security and stability in my life that sustains me even now as an adult. I don’t know what I would have done if as a kid my parents decided they were getting divorced. But I know I would have been pretty devastated. Because that’s what I do. I am the emotional kid. I am the one to go off in the corner and mope for years.
But, so, how does one talk to younger kids about divorce? I say gently, patiently, jointly and honestly. I think both parents have a responsibility to their children to sit down with them and explain things in a way that makes the child feel less stressed out by this huge change. I think they should do it together and answer questions honestly. Don’t BS the kids but at the same time, some things are “adult only” and the kids dont’ really need more details than they need. The idea is, the kids must understand fundamentally that none of what is going on is their fault. They could not have saved the marriage no more than they are the cause of the divorce. Yet, in spite of that, they need to know that their parents are still going to be there for them, providing the stability and security they have come to know and expect. And that frankly they deserve.
And where possible, share custody. Don’t put your kids through custody battles. It’s just wrong. It really, really is.
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