Regardless of the reasons behind it, divorce is challenging. Adding children to the situation only adds more difficulty. Children may struggle to understand the changes in their family that are taking place. It is common for children to act out, close off, or draw incorrect conclusions about the nature of the situation. Through the process, you can take the opportunity to teach your children how to cope with change and trials. After all, they are the only two factors of life that are guaranteed.
Let Your Child Know You Love Them
Children can sometimes take upon themselves the feelings parents may have towards each other during divorce. This is why you must, above all, show your child that they are loved by both parents. This is not something that will ever change, no matter how you and your former spouse feel about one another. Give your child the love, time, and attention they need so that they do not question whether or not they are loved and cared for.
When one parent separates themselves from the home, the child may feel like the separated parent does love them less. Confirming this in any amount to the child is destructive. Remind your child that they are not the reason for their parents’ separation. Reserve any malice you may have toward your former spouse for your private thoughts and remind your child that the separated parent still loves them, regardless of their absence.
Refrain from Sugar Coating the Situation
While parents should tell the child they are loved and are not the reason for the divorce, they should also be honest with their child about the events occurring without trying to turn their child against the other parent. Allow your child to ask questions and voice their own thoughts about the situation, as this promotes and teaches healthy coping strategies. They can gain a sense of personal empowerment and release any inevitable frustrations by communicating their emotions and concerns.
Be Peaceful in Front of the Kids
Never fight in front of your children. There are no exceptions to this rule, as witnessing a fight between two separated parents can be traumatic for a child. Teach your child how to be polite and cooperative in times of stress and contention by setting an example. If you cannot keep the tension at a minimum around your former spouse in your child’s presence, it may be best for your spouse to collect your child in a neutral setting, such as from a friend’s house or picking them up from school. Keeping your child out of the contention and in a safe environment to express their feelings can help them to heal from the divorce in a healthier way.