A divorce is hard for everyone in a family, but for children it's a terrifying time in their lives. As a parent who loves and wants to protect your child, you should know that there are ways to help your child through a divorce.
One of the things many children believe is that the divorce is somehow their fault. Others lash out, thinking their parents no longer care about them. You may not be able to avoid all of the effects caused by what your child feels, but using these tips can help you reduce the stress your child is struggling with.
1. Be honest with your child
Within reason, it's a good idea to be honest with your child. Children hear and understand more than many adults give them credit for. It's a wise step to talk to your child, either alone or with your spouse, about the impending divorce. Be clear that you will not be living together, but also explain that what you do next is going to be in your child's best interests. This is not the time to talk negatively about your spouse or to place blame. Instead, focus on making your child more comfortable with the idea of divorce.
2. Talk to your child
Your child likely has many questions and feelings about the divorce. It's okay to listen while he or she cries or screams at you. Your child needs to express those emotions. When you get to a point where your child is calm, talk to him or her about the feelings he or she is experiencing. Work together to put those feelings into words, so your child can explain his or her emotions to you instead of acting out or being physically upset each time the topic comes up.
3. Get help when you need it
There are many professionals who can help if your child is struggling with divorce and you're not sure what else to do. Children often bounce back after changes are made, but this is a complete change of everything he or she has known. Psychologists, psychiatrists and others can help you learn to communicate with your child and to understand why he or she is struggling.
Your attorney can help with your divorce and parenting plan, so you can be clear about what's happening next during the divorce. With support, you can move through these changes quickly.
Source: Nov. 30, -0001