Divorce is hard on everyone in the family, but for children it is especially difficult. They will experience a wide range of emotions that include sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, and worry over what will happen to them. Here are five simple ways that you can address these feelings and help them move through the divorce process with as little stress as possible.
Reassure Them That They Are Not to Blame
Younger children often blame themselves when their parents divorce. They convince themselves that you and your spouse would still be together if they had done things differently, especially if they have heard you bring them up in arguments. Take the time to sit with each child and gently explain that they did not cause the breakup, nor could they have prevented it. Make sure they understand that that both parents still love them very much.
Don’t Badmouth Your Ex
Children love and need to feel connected to both their parents. Even if you feel completely justified in doing so, resist the urge to talk negatively about their other parent. Doing so will create a loyalty conflict that deters the children from communicating their feelings openly with you. Never put them in a position where they have to choose between you and their other parent.
Establish New and Fun Traditions
Preserving certain routines during the divorce process will give the children a sense of stability, but you can lift their spirits by creating fun new ways of spending time together. How about regular Sunday brunch at an outdoor cafe in summer and family ice-skating sessions in winter? You will have fun and feel rejuvenated, and so will they.
Get the Children Involved in the New Living Arrangements
After you (or your ex) move out of the family home and get a new place, invite the children to visit and pick out their sleeping spots before they start spending regular time there. You can even involve them in choosing furniture and decorating the place. Encourage them to bring over some of their possessions for added comfort and a smoother transition.
Take Care of Yourself
This is a time when you may feel easily overwhelmed and find parenting responsibilities more difficult to handle. Don’t be hard on yourself. Instead, take care of your emotional needs by cultivating a support system and seeking professional help if you think you need it. The better you feel, the more you will be able to help the children with their own emotional challenges.
Make no mistake about it: divorce is always going difficult for kids. But if your children feel loved and supported by both their parents and establish enjoyable new routines, they will emerge from the situation in good shape and become their happy, well-adjusted selves once more.
For assistance in creating a divorce process that puts the needs of your children first, contact Topham Family Law today.