Whether you are a parent going through a divorce, a grandparent of children going through a divorce, a friend of such a child or someone who works with kids on a regular basis, knowing how to talk to children of divorce can be instrumental in helping them process what is going on in their world. These are some things you need to know about communicating with children of divorce. This list has been adapted from the list “The Art of Communicating With Children” from the book Helping Your Kids Cope With Divorce the Sandcastles Way by M. Gary Newman (1998, Times Books Random House, p.13). I have added my own notes on how each item might look to parents and to children’s ministry workers.
1. Children want – and need – to talk.
Talking is essential to allow children to process the emotions they are feeling. Even if a child does not want to talk now, you can rest assured that they will want to talk at some point. Don’t be discouraged if this talking requires a little bit of prompting. For parents, understand that talking about what they are feeling is critical to your children. For children’s ministry workers, you should recognize that your environment may be the most “sane” 60 or 90 minutes a child of divorce experiences every week. Take advantage of that time to give them an opportunity to talk.
2. Any time can be a good time to talk.