Children, regardless of their age, never want to see their parents get divorced. They recognize how their lives will change. The kids must decide who they will spend time with as adults and may find their own relationships are affected by their parents’ split.
Young children also struggle when their parents decide to go their separate ways. They may feel guilty and blame themselves for the divorce. Children might also wonder if their parents are going to leave them. How can parents help their kids through this difficult time? What steps can they take to ease the process?
Get the Right Help
When two parties decide to split, each person might look for a divorce attorney and a child support lawyer. They want to ensure their rights are protected as the process moves forward. Now is also a good time to work with a therapist.
Many people have hard feelings for the other spouse during the divorce, and they need to harness these feelings when speaking with the children. The therapist can be their sounding board and work with them so they can be civil with the former spouse during and after the divorce. The kids need both parents and the therapist can help the partner navigate difficult situations involving the former spouse so the children don’t suffer.
Talk About Feelings
The parent isn’t the only one who needs to talk about their feelings regarding the divorce. Children need to feel free to speak openly. When they do so, listen carefully to what they are and are not saying. Young children, in particular, may have a hard time expressing things. The parent needs to be patient and try to read between the lines, so their fears can be laid to rest.
Each parent needs to emphasize their love for the child. They may become clingy and insecure. The parent needs to support them and be there when the child needs them. This can be difficult, particularly when the divorce is contentious. However, parents must find a way to come together for the kids’ sake.
It’s hard to go from a two-parent household to a one-parent household. Each spouse must take on new responsibilities, as they don’t have a partner to ease some of the burden. This can be challenging to navigate because the individual must find the time to get everything done.
Now is not the time to let discipline slide. Children need boundaries to feel comfortable. When there are boundaries, they know what is expected of them. They have enough uncertainty in their lives. They need a predictable environment.
Although differences of opinion regarding discipline may have played a role in the divorce, each parent must maintain the norm, at least during the transition period. Changes can slowly be made when it comes to disciplinary tactics and what is permitted in the home. However, this should not happen overnight, as it would be too confusing for the children.
Parents suffer when going through a divorce and any children of the partnership do, as well. Know that things will get better with time and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Work with children to understand what is happening and what they can expect in the future. The uncertainty is scary to kids, so give them plenty of reassurance. Parents who do so find their children make it through this difficult period in life with fewer negative effects. They will come out on the other side strong and ready to face the world.