Every year, thousands of married couples go through the process of divorce. While there are the lucky few that go through it unscathed, it’s a regrettably harrowing experience for many others, even with the help of a family law attorney. The latter is especially true for couples who have children because, in this situation, parents aren’t the only ones who have to deal with the stress of a divorce. Unfortunately, those most affected by parental separation are children. Here are some tips on how you can help your child process your divorce.
Avoid fighting in front of your kids
Any and all conversations with your ex regarding divorce should be away from your children, regardless of whether you’ll end up arguing. Don’t involve your children in any adult concerns such as finances or division of property. Confide in a divorce therapist, a family member, or a friend instead and ensure that your children don’t have to worry about things that they have no immediate control over.
Let your children know that they’re loved
If you don’t properly communicate what exactly is happening to your children, it’s natural for them to presume that they’re at fault. They’ll start to believe that there were things that they could have done to prevent it from happening, even if the situation has nothing to do with them. You need to reassure your kid that this isn’t their fault, that they’re loved and supported, and that the issue is between you and your ex-spouse.
Allow your to kids voice their concerns and feelings
No matter how amicable your divorce is, you can’t stop your children from feeling hurt and disappointed. It’s healthy for them to have strong emotional reactions, especially over such a significant change in their lives. Don’t downplay their pain and be proactive when it comes to allowing them to voice their concerns and feelings. The more they’re able to get these thoughts out of their system, the healthier and more open their relationship will be with both you and your ex.
Don’t antagonize your ex
Even if you aren’t on good terms with your ex, you shouldn’t antagonize them in front of your children. You can vent these frustrations out to another adult, but children should otherwise be spared from any ill feelings and conflict. You also shouldn’t make your children compare you and your ex to one another, such as asking them which one of you they prefer.
Refrain from glossing over the situation
It’s understandable that you would want to protect your children from the reality of the divorce as much as possible, but purposely hiding information and sugarcoating certain details will only do them harm. Communicate essential information with them without burdening them with too many details. Give them space to process the situation and listen to them when they need to vent.
Keep things as normal as possible
Avoid changing too much of your routine up when going through the divorce and even after it. You and your ex should continue to parent as you normally would and try to maintain a consistent schedule for your children so they can find it easier to adapt to the new setting.
Divorce can be extremely tough, especially on children, but these tips will help you make the process much easier for them to understand.