While divorce is usually thought of as something that happens to adults, the truth is that it is something that has far-reaching effects on the entire family. It is considered a traumatic event in most people’s lives, especially for children who must deal with the implications of their parents’ split.
Children are incredibly resilient, but they do need guidance to help them cope with and make sense of the changes that are occurring in their families. A little empathy, patience and clear age-appropriate communication go a long way in helping minor children adjust and cope.
Strategies to implement when going through a divorce with children
According to the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, here are some ways to help children deal with divorce:
- Stay calm and collected: After the initial shock of a marriage breakdown, emotions often run wild. A parent’s reaction to the divorce can have a profound effect on the child in terms of how they respond to it and how they will approach life after the separation.
- Listen to your child’s feelings: Children often have a lot of confusion and sadness about divorce. If the divorce was due to a difficult marriage, encourage your child to talk about his or her feelings. Listen to your child and seek out professional help if needed.
- Keep the child’s routine as normal as possible: To minimize the uncertainty that can come with so many changes, it is important to be consistent as possible. For example, once you have decided on how custody arrangements will take place, keep the same schedules.
The most important thing to remember as a parent is that your child will need you more than ever. Not only are they dealing with the changes in their family, but they also need to have a solid foundation in the type of life they will now be living after the divorce.
Divorce is seldom easy, and it’s always harder when you have children involved. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of all your rights and options.