Divorce can be frustrating, confusing, and devastating for children. Since they know that their parents are on the brink of separating for good, it can be a traumatizing experience that can have a tremendous impact on their future.
As parents, there is no question you have a lot to deal with during a divorce. However, it is up to the adults to educate their children about how a divorce will affect their lives and how to properly guide them through the process with love and compassion.
The following are helpful ways to help your children cope with divorce:
- Be honest with your children and tell them the truth about the divorce. Of course, how you tell them depends on their age. While older kids should understand the general cause of the divorce (but not the intimate details), younger children should be just told in broad terms that their parents will not be living together or stay together as a couple anymore. All children need to be reminded that the love and support of both parents will remain the same no matter what changes in their lives. Additionally, all children need to be told the divorce is not their fault.
- Encourage your children to express their feelings. Divorce is synonymous with loss. The loss of a parent, the loss of their home, and the loss of the life they were used to for a long time. It is imperative to help your children share their feelings and listen to what they have to say. No matter what the circumstances may be, keep reassuring them that everything will be alright in the end.
- Share the news as a united front. Instead of having each parent share their reasons why divorce is imminent and position their children to choose a side, breaking the news together ensures that both parties can successfully work together after the marriage ends. It also shows the children that they will continue to act as unit and not require the children choose a side. Do not argue in front of the children about adult issues or issues related to the divorce.
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself. To guide your children through the process of divorce with the right mindset, it is important to make sure you get the care you need as well. Whether it’s seeking the advice of friends or a therapist, exercising to relieve stress, or maintaining a healthy diet, you need to make sure you take care of yourself as well.
- Consider the big picture. When problems throughout the divorce process arise that causes anger and stress, take a step back and remember what is actually important. Having a friendly and cooperative relationship with your ex-spouse is best for the children to make sure they live a happy life after the divorce is finalized.