Going through a divorce isn’t easy, especially for kids. Children experience a wide range of emotions including shock, frustration, anger, worry and sadness. While you may be having a hard time yourself, it is important as a parent to help your child through this difficult transition. The following are some tips to guide you.
Be straightforward while considering the child’s age
It isn’t uncommon for children to blame themselves for their parents’ separation. Children may also act out when they don’t understand the situation.
While it can be difficult to break the news about the divorce to your children, it is important to be straightforward about what is happening. Let the child know that mom and dad are going to be living separately and why. Don’t give excuses or try to sugarcoat it. This will allow your children to express their feelings and ask questions to gain a better understanding.
The way you deliver your message and how much information you give will depend on the child’s age and level of maturity. Children don’t need to know all the reasons behind the divorce. They just need enough information to know that this will result in a change in their daily life.
Whenever possible, both parents should be present when breaking the news to the children.
Reassure your children of your love
A divorce can make children feel unloved and even lose their sense of self-esteem. It is therefore important for both parents to reassure the children of their love.
Let your children know that the divorce is not happening because of anything the children have done and that they should not blame themselves. Reassure them that both parents love them and will continue to love them despite living separately.
You will need to continually reaffirm your love for your children to help them cope with the divorce. Let them know that they will still get to spend time with each parent. Explain to them how this will work.
Encourage open and honest communication with your children
Giving children the opportunity to express themselves without fear of judgement or punishment will give your children a sense of empowerment. It can also help to ease their frustration so that they can cope better with the situation.
Talk to your children about different emotions that are natural to feel under the circumstances. Spend time with them doing things they enjoy and listen to their view of the situation. Encourage them to continue talking about their feelings and how they are coping. You should check in with them as often as possible.
Don’t talk negatively about your ex
You may be experiencing a wide range of emotions. You may feel angry, hurt, disappointed and betrayed, for example, and may look to others for support during this difficult time. It may be tempting to bad mouth your ex to your children for revenge. However, this will only have a negative impact on your children in the long term. Your children need both of their parents. Don’t let your conflict result in your children missing out on having a healthy relationship with both of their parents.
Use the tips above to help your children get through your divorce.