Helping your child cope with Divorce
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
No one goes into a marriage expecting to divorce. Divorce, unfortunately, is an event that occurs commonly amongst married couples. It's harder when there are children involved. How can we, as adults, make the adjustment of divorce a little easier for our children?
The biggest thing you can do for your children is to avoid fighting with your former spouse. It might not be an easy task, but it is an essential task. Divorce is your choice, not your children; they are recipients of the fallout. Keeping this in mind, when you speak with your former spouse, try to remember why you married them. Channel that positivity into your dialog and have a normal tone conversation with your spouse. Use that mindset to get back to the friendship that you once shared. If you can get back to the friendship stage with your former spouse, it will benefit you and your children.
Please don't make your children choose sides. Did they pick their parents before being born? Why do they have to decide now? As parents do not put this heavy burden on your child. They are dealing with their own emotions of guilt and sadness of the situation.
Explain why your family is going through the process of divorce with your children. It is better if both parents can participate in this conversation, but if not, then you each can have a conversation separately. When you have the conversation, keep it age-appropriate. Let your children ask you whatever is on their mind (nothing is off-limits). The answers to their questions need to be honest, but more importantly, they need to be neutral—no need to go into dirty details or placing blame. It can be simple like "we are moving in different directions" or "things were happening that I just couldn't accept."
Let your children talk honestly about their feelings. As parents, we need to accept what our children are feeling. Do not dismiss how they are feeling. These emotions are theirs, and they are entitled to have them. Your job is to help them deal with emotions is an appropriate manner. Remember you did not decide overnight to get a divorce, don't expect your children to get over the change of the family dynamics overnight.
Encouragement - Give your kids constant support, so they know they are still valued members of the core family. Do not use your children as a tool to punish the other parent. If your children have a positive relationship with each parent, then it's our job as parents to maintain that relationship. Having a positive relationship with both parents is essential for your children in learning how to have different types of relationships.
The final thing is to have patience. Have patience for yourself, your children, and yes, your former spouse.