Divorce can be incredibly painful and stressful, and can also be stressful on your kids. Helping your children through your divorce is so important because they may be feeling a lot of emotions and not know how to handle them. Be patient with them as they sort out how they’re feeling. Also, be a good listener when they come to you with fears or concerns. Be reassuring and continually make sure they realize that you both still love them. And finally, you and your ex should still be a team when it comes to your children. Divorce is hard on everybody, but it’s important not to forget that your children can be feeling all the stresses that you are.
Helping Your Children Through Your Divorce: Help Them Cope With a Stressful Time
Helping your children through your divorce starts with being patient. This needs to start from the first moment you tell them that the divorce is happening. Give them plenty of space and time to react to the news. Even after you’ve told them, it might take them several days or even weeks to fully process what it means. Their entire world is changing. They may have a lot of questions about what their lives are going to look like in the future. Try to be patient and give them as much time as they need to process their emotions.
Be a Good Listener
Some children react to divorce by becoming very quiet and inward. However, some children are the opposite and want to talk things over. If your children are wanting to discuss concerns with you, be a good listener. Helping your children through your divorce means hearing out all of their fears. They may get angry, or blame you, or feel hurt. Listen to what they say without getting defensive.
Helping your children through your divorce often means reassuring them that the divorce is not their fault. No matter how you phrase the reasons for your split up, many children are prone to blaming themselves. Even though it likely has nothing to do with them. They’ll need to hear those words from you frequently. Reassure them that things are changing right now but that they’ll feel settled soon. They will find a new routine that will seem very normal. And of course, always reassure them about how much you love them and support them. Remind them that you’re always there to listen if they are feeling afraid or sad about all the changes happening in their life.
Be a Team
Finally, helping your children through your divorce relies on you and your ex being a team. You may have trouble being around each other. You may even resent them or have all sorts of bitterness towards them. However, you both need to work together to establish a healthy routine for your children. Playing the blame game only ends up hurting your children in the long run. Set the same boundaries for when they’re at each of your houses and don’t try to win their favor by buying them gifts. Your children don’t need to hear about the problems you had in your marriage. Try to remember that they probably deeply love your ex and need to know that you’re supportive of the relationship they have with their other parent.
Helping your children through your divorce is so important because children experience big feelings. But they often don’t know how to process these feelings and can get overwhelmed easily. Be patient when they’re explaining how they feel and be a good listener. Reassure them repeatedly that they are loved and that they did not have anything to do with the divorce. And finally, you and your ex need to be a team, at least when it comes to your children. It’s important to set aside your differences and your bitterness in order to parent them the best way you can. They need your love and support at a time in their lives that is bound to be stressful.