Divorce is already painful when it is only just you and your spouse. It is even worse when you have children involved. Parents have the responsibility of caring for their children while the divorce is going on. This can be a challenge since they can react in different ways.
Here are some tips that should help parents support their children during divorce:
Talk To Them Before It Happens
One of the big issues that children have with divorce is that it might seem to come from nowhere. You need to break the news to them before it happens. As soon as you and your partner have decided, you should tell your children together. This means that there is no single parent who gets the brunt of the blame for telling them.
You should emphasize that the decision to separate is completely you and your partners. The children need to know that they have nothing to do with the decision. Additionally, you should explain what will happen so that there won’t be any unpleasant surprises.
Set Down Ground Rules
Sit down with your trusted custody lawyer and your ex to figure out how the custody arrangements will happen. While some think that letting their partner take full custody is the easy way out and better for the children, it will seem like you abandoned them. You should be aiming for full shared custody. This gives you ample time with your children so that they still feel your presence.
During this discussion, you should also consider special medical needs, child support, and more. With a solid legal agreement in place, you will have an easier time with things.
Help Them Cope
During and after the divorce, take the time to talk things over with your children. They will likely be feeling a lot of things, most of them negative. If you don’t help them deal with these emotions, they can fester and become problems in the future. First, acknowledge their feelings. Don’t try to tell them that they should just be tough and try to endure things.
This encourages them to just bottle their feelings. They need to let their emotions out in a clean and healthy way, which is what talking with you is about. Next, the most important thing is to listen to them. Divorce can drown out a lot of concerns but when you talk with your children, they need to know you are listening.
Finally, you have to reassure them that you still love them and that they are not at fault for anything that happens.
Avoid Overt Conflict
Divorce can get acrimonious. It is important that when you and your ex are in front of your children, you don’t get into any violent confrontation or conflict. There will be disagreements but you can work through them if you treat each other with respect. Continue communicating and learn to compromise. Never raise your voice or make threats to ensure everything is as peaceful as possible.
Get Professional Help
When it comes to children, you might need some professional help. Check if your children’s school has a program or a counselor that can specifically help children of divorced or divorcing couples. Having an attentive ear that is not a parent can give them a neutral party to turn to. You might also want to send them to therapy. There are children’s therapists that can help your children better deal with the emotions that divorce causes.
Give Them Routine
Another way to help your child cope is by giving them some stability. This can be found in their daily routines. Try to minimize disrupting it as little as possible. For example, you shouldn’t pull them out of their school. That is where their friends are and their support network is. Going to school in the same place can give them a sense that not everything is going to go away suddenly. They will appreciate the additional effort that you are making.
If you do have to make a change, learn to compromise. For example, if your children are staying with you for the weekend, try to ensure that they’ll get the same things from you as to when they are with your ex. This gives a sense of consistency that they need.
Children shouldn’t be hurt when you decide on a divorce. Parents need to do their best to shield their children from the pain of divorce. The advice above should help in guiding your child through the divorce process and afterward. However, no matter what you do, there will always be some emotional pain when it comes to divorce. But your efforts should ensure that it shouldn’t scar your child mentally or emotionally.