Every year, hundreds and thousands of children suffer from stress caused by their parents’ divorce. As the emotional distress is already challenging for the couple, it’s even more heart-wrenching for them when their kids are involved, especially when they need to break this unfortunate news to them. As a parent, you’re torn between wanting to be very honest with your child about divorce while ensuring you don’t emotionally scar them for life.
But the thing is, most kids will only suffer for a while after knowing the news and once the divorce has been finalized. However, the primary reason some children feel stress and anxious for longer periods is because of the situations and changes happening after a divorce. For example, it may be that because communication became harder, they felt pressured to choose between two parents, or the divorce has adversely affected their lifestyle, routines, and overall outlook in life.
Helping Children Transition With Your Divorce
Thus, both parents need to be there for their children during and even after the divorce process. Likewise, your child will need your attention and help them feel a sense of stability to ease the effects. Here are some tips to help your child cope with your divorce:
1. Explain And Listen
When breaking the news to your child, you must do it together as a couple. Let your child understand the situation as calmly and straightforwardly as possible. Never show them any emotions of guilt, anger, or hostility toward your spouse. Instead, work with your partner and practice how you’ll both explain the situation in the best way your child will understand.
It’s also significant you both discuss what the child’s future will become. When talking about your kid’s life, it’s best to seek legal advice from lawyers such as Pearsons Lawyers and other services to help you make decisions. Then, give your child enough details on the possible changes that’ll happen.
For instance, there’ll be certain days where they can stay with their father and the rest of the week will be for the mother. Or it could be that you’ll transfer your child to another school or another address. You don’t need to explain to your child the main reasons behind the divorce. It’s already enough to explain and let them know about the upcoming changes with their routine.
Likewise, it’s also crucial to listen carefully to what your children will say about the news. If they start blaming themselves for the divorce, be quick to reassure them they have nothing to do with the situation.
2. Validate Their Feelings
Encourage your child to open up by checking in with their feelings and asking how they feel about the divorce. If they’re having a tough time opening up, you can tell them, ‘I know you’re feeling sad,’ or ‘I know it can be lonely.’
Through this, you can let your child know their emotions are valid, and you accept every emotion and reaction they’re feeling. Make sure to keep open communication and ongoing dialogue, so when their thoughts and feelings are in the open, you can offer ways to make them feel better.
3. Avoid Blaming The Other Parent
Another reason why some kids are having a hard time coping is because one or both parents blame each other. Unfortunately, doing so will only put your child under intense pressure that they’ll have to choose sides and experience conflict in loyalty.
As much as possible, never talk badly about the other parent no matter how mad you are. Remember, your child will still love, need, and value both of you even if you’re separated. Strive to be civil and maintain an amicable relationship for your child’s sake.
4. Offer Support
When offering help to your child, you can ask them first about what will make them feel better. If they want to go somewhere else to travel, eat at a new restaurant, or get a pet, then do so. However, if your child doesn’t name anything, you can suggest ideas such as:
- Buy their favorite stuffed toy
- Take a walk along the beach
- Have a picnic
- Sit together in places with the best views
Your child may also appreciate it if you offer them to call their dad/mom and talk for a while to catch up. The point is to ensure your child will never feel alone, neglected, or pressured to choose a side.
5. Send Your Child Off With A Smile
As you drop off your child at the other parent’s house or if your ex-partner picks up your child from your house, make sure you send your child off with a smile. Never make your child feel bad or guilty for leaving you for the weekend or for spending time with the other parent, or they’ll never have a good time.
Make it clear to your child to not worry about you and that all the scheduled visitations and meetups will go smoothly and peacefully every time.
Divorce will always be a challenging situation for everyone. But as long as you continue providing a loving, stable, and calm environment for your children, they can soon emerge from the situation in good shape. Later, your children will be able to understand everything positively as they become accustomed to their routine and lifestyle.