Divorce is a huge adjustment for the entire family. Children undergo tremendous stress, but they can weather divorce well if they have lots of parental support. What can you do to help your children adjust?
Explain the divorce in a way that makes it clear that the relationship with both parents will continue and will continue to be good. Children really need their parents, and they need to know the divorce doesn’t mean that they’re going to lose either parent. Planning a new adventure can give them a feeling of continuity, too. Something like, “Would you like to take a rock climbing class with your dad?” can give kids confidence that their dad is going to continue to be there for them.
Reassure your kids that the divorce isn’t their fault. Kids tend to worry that they’re to blame for things that go wrong, and they may need to be told that the divorce has nothing to do with them. Sometimes professional assistance in this area can be extremely helpful so consider if your child may benefit from seeing a counselor or therapist.
Avoid criticizing your ex in front of your children. Your children don’t want or need to know the details of what’s going on between their parents. The less they know about the specifics of their parents’ disagreements, the easier it is on them. It’s hard for children when they’re expected to take sides or when they hear negative things about a parent they love. You and your ex are still their role models, and they’ll be happiest if they’re still allowed to admire both parents. Children know that they are half mom and half dad, so criticizing the other parent also puts down the child.
Don’t be surprised if your children act out. There may be temporary problems in school or misbehavior at home. If the problems seem serious it may be a good idea to consult with a counselor, but for the most part you can expect this behavior to disappear on its own. Letting your children know how much they are still loved will usually give them the support and reassurance they need to get back on track.
Weathering the storms of divorce may seem impossible at first, but with some effort the family can be stronger than ever. If you and your ex can agree to make your children a priority throughout the divorce, your children will benefit, and you’ll benefit just as much.
Please contact us today if you’d like to learn more!