Divorce can take an emotional toll on everyone in the family, and this is particularly true for the children involved. Children oftentimes have difficulty understanding why their parents are separating, and will internalize a lot of negative feelings regarding the event.
While there is no way to make divorce easy for children, there are some simple steps you can implement to help your children cope better throughout the divorce.
How to Lessen the Impact
Your children will be experiencing a range of emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, and grief. Their emotional reactions can be minimized through conscious parental action. Here are just a few of the things that can help lessen their negativity through this period.
Both parents must refrain from talking about the other partner in a negative fashion. Particularly with older children, parents often view them as a convenient outlet for venting. However, your child is not your therapist, and this will only make the divorce more difficult for them.
Avoid discussing legal or custody related issues around the kids. This will only increase their stress and anxiety levels. You’ll also want to avoid any verbal confrontations with your partner while in the company of your children. Your children are likely feeling an elevated sense of tension as it is, and by displaying your marital problems out in the open, it will only increase the stress and unhappiness of your children.
Do your best to minimize any changes in your child’s life. Big changes can make children feel anxious and will exacerbate any negative feelings they’re having. Alterations regarding scheduling and their day-to-day routine should be kept at a minimum.
Divorces are often extremely stressful for parents, which can result in them being so overwhelmed with their own feelings, they neglect to consider how their actions are impacting their children. By remaining conscious of your actions, you can be more sensitive to the needs of your child and lessen the stress they experience.
How to Encourage Positive Coping Skills for Children
Children are bound to have a variety of mixed emotions throughout the divorce, and it’s important for their self-esteem that their feelings are routinely acknowledged and validated. Here are just a few ideas to help your children cope.
Check in with your child regularly and ask them how they’re responding to the present circumstances and what could be altered to make their experience more positive.
Respond to your child’s desires as much as possible. Your child’s opinion of events is as important as your own and should be catered to as much as possible. Work with your child to find an appropriate compromise that will accommodate everyone’s needs.
Consider seeking out a therapist. Your child is bound to have a lot of questions and concerns they simply aren’t comfortable discussing with their parents. A therapist will provide them an additional outlet for comfort and coping throughout this tough time.
Work with a top-rated Newmarket family law firm, such as the Law Offices of Lain T Donnell, to ensure the divorce runs as quickly and seamlessly as possible. The more the divorce gets dragged out, the harder it will be for the children to acclimate to their new set of circumstances.
Divorce is psychologically and emotionally challenging for everyone involved, and it is easy for parents to become so focused on their own problems at this time that they may disregard the feelings of their children. By continuing to prioritize your child’s mental health above your own, you can ensure the smoothest transition throughout the divorce. Always put your child’s thoughts and feeling first, and accommodate their needs whenever possible.
Guest Post written by Brooke Chaplan. Brooke is a freelance writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She enjoys hiking, biking, running and blogging about many different subjects including family, home and fitness. Contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan
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