The most important thing for a child during divorce is to make sure that the child does not blame themselves in any way for your separation or divorce. Children often assume that your separation is due to something they have done. It needs to be made very clear to them that it is not their fault and that they are still loved by both parents.
The emotional impact of divorce on children
Similar to adults, children can suffer from depression or bouts of feeling down and this not unusual when parents separate. However, they will not always exhibit the same issues/symptoms as adults. For instance, you may find that they seem fine at school but will have issues with bed wetting, nightmares or will become very emotional. Look out for changes in their behaviour so that you can assess the situation and help throughout the process.
The stress and depression that adults feel when their marriage is over is a lot different in the eyes of a child. While adults will be able to maintain a certain semblance of regular tasks, often time’s children will not be able to keep it all together. That’s why it’s important to call a professional to help with the issues that will most likely arise.
Even if there are no signs of trouble it could mean that your child is internalizing their emotions which could lead to problems down the line. Acting early is always the best way to help smooth out the transitional stages for children.
Five ways to help kids get through divorce
So how can you make sure that news of your upcoming divorce is taken as smoothly as possible?
Keep Kids Out Of Arguments
Nobody likes to be caught standing in the middle of a shouting match and this is especially the case for your children. Children never like to hear the ones they love tearing into each other verbally. If you do have heated exchanges make sure it all happens out of earshot, try counting to ten before reacting to confrontation or try to find ways to work around your problems.
Break The News When Everyone’s Present
The best way to make sure everyone knows that everything will be OK is if everyone’s present when news of a divorce is broken. Once you know that a divorce is imminent, it’s important that children not be left out of what is going on. Sit them down, talk to them and explain the situation and then calmly and positively, talk about the future.
Having both parents helps to show a united front and that both mom and dad are there for each other. If you’ve got smaller kids make sure you tell children that mom and dad still like each other but need to live in different houses and both of these houses are also their homes.
For older kids don’t try to put any spin on the news or put your spouse down and point blame. They may seem more mature and young adults, but they are not your friends or peers— they are your children and should not be used to share woes about your partner.
Don’t Let Kids Blame Themselves
As pointed out earlier, children can sometimes feel that all of this came about because of them and their behaviour. This is something you should stub out as soon as possible, be sure to point out that this decision is totally between both parents and has no reflection of them. Your feelings haven’t changes towards them and never will. Getting this point across can help greatly in lifting any fears and anxiety that your children may go through during and after your divorce.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Getting Counselling
If you feel that your children aren’t handling the news of your divorce as well as you hoped it could be wise to seek professional counselling. There have been numerous cases where parents thought children were dealing with the news only to find out later that this wasn’t the case.
But by keeping in close contact with teachers, friend’s parents and coaches you’ll better equipped to see how they really are feeling. Counselling can be expensive but when it comes to your children’s future the expense can be well worth paying.
Get Your Children Involved In Your Divorce
A divorce is something that affects the whole family so why not get the whole family involved. If one spouse is moving out, get the kids involved in the process of finding a new apartment and fixing up their room in the property. By letting children get involved in your divorce its takes some of the helplessness out of the process and makes them feel like they’re also involved.
Children can be very resilient when it comes to a divorce but it’s important to try to make things as easily as possible for them. Even now we all can remember bad moments from our childhood as adults and you don’t want your divorce to be one of those for your children. But by following the tips above you can greatly reduce any negative feeling and emotions your child will remember about your divorce.
We’ll cover issues around child custody in legal and child support in finance.