How to Support Your Children During Divorce

By: Wendi Schuller
Last Update: November 01, 2016

We get caught up in the maelstrom of divorce and can fail to notice that our children are floundering. They appear okay on the surface going through the motions of life, but underneath may be in distress. Although divorce is an adult action, the fallout affects the youngsters.

Allow the children to vent, and while you may not agree with everything said, releasing strong emotions is better than having them bottled up inside. Validate their feeling of frustration that through no fault of their own, major changes are occurring in their world. This may involve packing up their stuff for a move and beginning to split time between parents. Emphasize what is constant in their lives – same school, activities, and friends. This helps kids to focus on having continuity rather than on what they cannot change.

Put animosity aside and put your kids first. Although this is easier said than done, your youngsters will do so much better in the long run. Try to be on the same page in regards to standard routines. Having consistent meal and bedtimes allows the kids to know what to expect and when. While kids can be surprisingly resilient, they still require some sort of foundation. You may have had general behavioral guidelines with consequences for infractions when you were married. Continuing to Implement these post-divorce is another method to help kids know what to expect. This lessens the chance that kids will test boundaries after divorce when co-parents handle conduct in similar ways.

Reach out to the extended family for help. One is overwhelmed and could use a short pause every now and then from day-to-day responsibilities. Your children will have fun with cousins and a break from the divorce environment. Some parents send their kids to camp or to a relative’s place while sorting out the divorce details. When your sanity is threatening to depart, ask friends to host a sleepover. Having a quiet night at home can do wonders for one’s psyche. When feeling calmer, reciprocate by having their kids sleep over at your house.

There is balance in life, which includes making time for recreation. Start traditions such as a movie night or weekly jaunt to a decadent bakery. I see many kids of divorce in my local one. Encourage youngsters to ditch the electronic devices and play outside with their friends in the fresh air. Set up play dates or group get-togethers with other families. Various studies have indicated the importance of connections to others, including the health benefits. Do not go into isolation with the kids during divorce, but rather reach out to others for support.

Not putting your child in the middle of the divorce battle or feeling that they have to choose sides is a way to support them. Understand that they have ties to both of you, so do not criticize the other parent. Kids are cognizant that both parents have flaws and good points. Make sure you are not walking around with a sad face and lighten up a bit. Watching comedies with my sons put us in happier moods during and after divorce. If the atmosphere is getting a bit heavy, find some amusements or physical outlets, such as bowling. My bowling score went up when I imaged the pins were my ex.

Bestow extra hugs and attention to the children. Ask them what they would like to do or eat for supper, which will give them some say in their lives. My sons shared their confidences with our cats, so this may be the time to consider a pet. My boys were showered with unconditional love from these felines. Keep in mind that you will be sharing its care when the kids are on visitation.

Consider having your child check in at least once or twice with a professional. This allows your child to blow off steam, and if there is anything major lurking under the surface, it can be addressed. If something upsetting develops later on, then there is person who already knows your kid and can be of assistance at a moment’s notice. Divorce is a life transition that your children get through.

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