Divorce is one of the toughest challenges most families have to go through. Sadly, it is not only hard on the parents, but it can be tough where children are involved. Different children react differently to their parents separating or divorcing. It all often times depends on age and the kind of relationships they shared with their parents. Due to the many things that happen during the divorce period, children’s feelings can often go unseen or neglected. They feel a lot of anger and resentment and parents need to
find a way to help them through it. How can they help?
Show them you care
At this moment when they feel like their lives have been turned upside down, they need to know that there is one constant in their lives, that you still care for them just as much as you did before. Most children develop feelings of guilt. They believe that the divorce was something to do with them. They need constant reassurance that they are not to blame. Make an effort as a parent to do the same things you did with them before. The goal is to make them feel safe and loved.
Let them tell you how they feel
Just like you, your child is trying to process emotions brought about by the divorce too. They may have many questions and opinions about what is to come. Try your best to address their concerns. They may want to know who they will live with? Or how they will see the other parent. At that stage, they feel like they have lost control of what is happening to the family and it can be frustrating. Remind them that you are there if they need to vent or talk about their issues.
During a divorce, children need to adjust to major life changes. They may move houses, schools, or lose close friends. This can affect a child’s mental health immensely. There is no shame in seeking help. It’s a tough time and you must do what is best for the children. You can seek the services of a counsellor or a therapist. These can include either family sessions or individual sessions. Some children may withdraw from their parents during this time because of resentment and anger. They may find it easier to talk to a therapist because they fear that they may hurt you as a parent.
Do not talk ill of each other
Unfortunately, divorces are not always amicable. Things can get very nasty and parents often develop hostility towards each other. As parents, you need to set aside any hostility towards each other when matters to do with your children are involved. Do as much as you can to protect them from the rough parts of the split. Additionally, do not bad mouth each other to the children. You need to respect each other as parents even if the relationship is over. Eventually, if you can, try to resolve your hostility for
the sake of your children
Explain your divorce to them
You may be tempted to keep the details of your divorce from your children in a bid to protect them. However, that can end up doing more harm than good. Sit then down and try and explain to then the divorce the best way you can. Keep in mind your children’s ages and talk to them in a way they will understand. You can discuss the issue with your therapist to find out the healthiest way to have that conversation.
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