To say that divorces have a traumatizing effect on children is a massive understatement. Life with their parents is the only life children know, and a family breaking apart throws them into unchartered waters.
Here are five tips to help you deal with your children as they cope with the divorce
Talk to them
Having all channels of communication open is very important for your child to understand what is happening. Children are unaware about the concepts of separation and divorce. It is the parent’s responsibility to have a discussion with their child about what a divorce is and what changes it will bring along. Rather than patronizing the child, be honest; they will appreciate you for it. Besides, it is much better if your children hear the details about a divorce from you rather than from rumors that are guaranteed to be swirling around.
Avoid fighting in front of them
Seeing their parents getting divorced is already a pretty traumatic experience for any child. Finding parents fighting all the time makes it even worse. Research has shown that children of divorcees who would constantly fight were more likely to see themselves as the reason for the trouble in their parent’s lives. Needless to say, this can have a crippling psychological effect on the mind of any child. Make every effort to ensure that you do not fight in front of the children.
A divorce may signal the end of the relationship with your spouse, but your relationship with your children carries on, irrespective of which parent has custody. Stay as involved in your child’s life as possible. Regular interaction and communication will reassure children that they are still an important part of your life, regardless of the divorce. Ask them questions so that your children know that you are genuinely interested in their life and well-being.
Do not deny them time with the other parent
Even after the parents have divorced, children may still want to spend an equal amount of time with both parents. Never deny your child the opportunity to spend time with the other parent when they want to. You may legally be within your rights to prevent the other parent from seeing your child, but that would not be the wisest move. Denying a child time with the other parent sends out the wrong message to children and is known to be a leading cause of depression in children of divorcees. Even if you are jealous about the time your child spends with your former spouse, do not let it show.
Say only nice things about the other parent
During and after divorce proceedings, a child’s mind is in a very fragile place. Anything that they experience at that moment will have a lifelong impact. Keep this in mind and think twice about saying anything bad about your ex in front of the children. Chances are, the children may not like you for saying negative things at such an emotional time and are more likely to turn on you. Badmouthing your former spouse in front of the children only makes you look like a petty person. Instead, say only good things about the other parent. This reassures children that a divorce is not the end of life as they know it and that it is still possible for people to be civil, despite their differences.