With the many changes that divorce brings, stress and confusion can take over your kids’ emotions. While there’s no way to entirely get rid of the negativity, the best you can do is show your kids that you’re there to provide the reassurance, love, and comfort they need. Here are tips on how to help your kid deal with the divorce.
Acknowledge Their Feelings
It’s important to recognize the anger, sadness, and confusion your kids may feel about the divorce. Some children keep these emotions bottled up and some tend to act them out. Encourage your children to open up to you about anything that they don’t understand about the divorce. Listen to them and take the time to explain your side afterwards.
Don’t forget that they are kids so it’s best to break things to them gently. Tamara Afifi, a professor of communication at the University of Caroline-Santa Barbara says that according to research, discussions can flow more easily when parents and kids discuss serious subjects while engaging in an activity. Depending on your child’s age, you can have these talks while taking a walk or combing their hair, for instance. By listening to them and acknowledging their emotions, you are validating their feelings and showing them that they can trust you. Communication is important because it will make your child feel more comfortable about opening up to you, and will teach them that it’s okay to feel the way they do.
Keep the Peace
“During a divorce, you are forced to deal with complex financial, emotional, and practical difficulties all at once,” divorce lawyers from Kent explain. The stress these problems cause often escalate into intense arguments and disagreements.
Your family lawyer and family members can be a good support system when problems arise. Kids can also be very curious and it’s best to have these conversations away from their earshot.
Children will have an easier time coping when they see that their parents are still getting along even after separating. If you sense that an argument will arise between you and your ex, maintain a calm attitude so as not fight in front of your children. At the very least, maintain civil interaction with each other especially when your kids are around to avoid further problems such as the kids blaming themselves or feeling like they need to take sides.
Handle Visitations Well
During visitations, it helps to act in a civilized manner with your ex-spouse. By showing a positive attitude when bidding your child goodbye to spend a few days with their other parent, they are not going to feel guilty about leaving. When your children get back, make sure not to probe them about the other parent’s new life. This makes you sound intrusive and will most likely make your child feel uncomfortable. Instead, show interest in asking general questions and show that you’re supportive of them spending time with your ex-spouse.
Divorce is as hard on your kids as it is on you – probably even harder. They have yet to mature to understand things better, but it helps to have a loving relationship with them that is built in communication and is abundant in comfort.