Getting a divorce is difficult for couples. It involves a lot of hard feelings and the separation of a union you thought was going to last forever. Now throw children into the mix and you’ve got an entirely new set of complications.
There are myriads of studies highlighting how devastating a divorce can be for children. It affects their mental health, future relationships, educational path, and even their financial standing. This is why it is so important to learn the proper procedure for divorce care with your children.
Don’t let this difficult situation bring your child down.
Here are 8 tips to help your children cope with your divorce.
1. Let Love be Central to your Divorce Care
When you are getting a divorce, it’s important for both you and your ex to let your child know that you still love them.
As a parent, you want the very best for your child. You want to give them the entire world. Watching them go through the emotional hardship of your divorce is probably one of the most difficult things you have ever experienced.
Explain your divorce to your child in the simplest way possible. They do not need the sordid details of why you are separating or who broke whose heart. All they need to know is that you are separating and that they are still the focus of both you and your ex’s world.
2. Consider Counseling
It’s odd to think of a child having stress, but this is exactly what can happen for children whose parents are getting a divorce.
It can be very beneficial for families to receive counseling during a divorce. It can be especially helpful for children to be able to sort through their feelings in a neutral environment.
Counseling can help children deal with the stress of divorce and the many changes that are happening in their lives. It can also encourage parents to have a dialogue with their child about the separation.
3. Plan Fun Outings
While you do not want to purposely spoil or buy your child’s love during this difficult time, it can be a good idea to plan a few fun outings to take their mind off of the difficult separation.
It is also wise to have exciting outings planned on days when the other parent isn’t able to show up for visitation. Your child will no doubt be upset by this, so having a fun backup plan can ease the pain they are feeling.
4. Make Peaceful Interactions a Goal
When you are dropping your child off at your ex’s house or interacting with them on the phone it can be difficult not to lash out about the divorce. But don’t.
A big part of divorce care is taking your child’s feelings into consideration. Will your child appreciate seeing their parents arguing or hearing disparaging things about them? Likely not. This will only hurt their feelings and make them feel like they have to pick a side.
Make it your goal to be peaceable with your partner, at least in front of your child.
5. Encourage Communication
Communication is the foundation of any good relationship – including the one between you and your child.
Your child likely has a lot of thoughts, feelings, and opinions about your getting a divorce.
Encourage them to talk to you openly and honestly about their feelings. Talk to them about the common emotions they might be feeling and stress that feeling angry, sad, or disappointed are perfectly normal reactions to divorce.
When your child knows they can come to you without judgment, they will be more likely to confide in you about future problems.
6. The Child is Not to Blame
During a divorce, it’s important to let your child know they are not responsible for your separation. You may know this, but they do not.
Studies show that children often put the blame on themselves during a parental breakup. They may also assume the responsibility to get their parents back together, which can cause undue stress and anxiety in their lives.
7. Be Flexible
Consistency is important for a child, especially during divorce care, so it’s easy to feel angry when your spouse isn’t able to pick your child up from school or take them for the weekend. But take a moment to breathe and relax.
Instead of getting upset, try to be understanding. You know that your ex-spouse loves your child. Consider whether they have a good reason for not being able to show up.
You and your ex are not always going to have the same schedule and there may be times where one or the other aren’t able to honor a commitment they’ve made. Both parents should be flexible with each other to maintain peace in the family unit.
8. Build a Sense of Community
Children thrive with consistency, love, and support in their lives.
As part of your divorce care, ensure that your child is surrounded with good influences. Research proves that support from friends and family can help lower psychological distress encountered after a traumatic or stressful event, such as divorce.
Surround yourself and your child with a sense of community while you are getting a divorce. Surround yourself and your child with loving, responsible, reliable adults. These will act as stabilizers and role models in your child’s life. It can also be beneficial for your own mental health to have close friends and family around during this difficult time.
Getting a divorce is a difficult process for both parents and children. Practice divorce care by being attentive to your children through your separation by reminding them that both you and your former partner love them more than anything. Make peaceful relationships with your ex a goal and remind your child that they are not to blame. This will make the divorce process much easier.