Going through a divorce or separation is difficult for the whole family. But it is often the children that struggle the most to cope with the loss as well as the new changes. Let’s take an in-depth look at the best ways of helping your child cope with divorce, while still being realistic about the situation:
Ways of helping your child cope with divorce
- Decide how you will tell your child
If it’s possible, it’s ideal for both parents to be present. It’s also a good idea to choose an area in which your child will feel safe and secure.
- Be clear that your child was not the cause of the divorce
You need to make your child understand that she is not the cause of the separation or any problems between you and your partner.
- Reassure your child
Your child wants to know that she will still be loved and cared for by you.
- Don’t discuss adult arrangements or argue in front of your child
Children should never be put in the middle of an argument or be present when adult affairs are discussed.
- Encourage your child to ask questions and express how she feels
Your child will most probably have many questions. Answer them as openly and honestly as possible. It is also a good opportunity to ask your child to express how she feels about the situation.
How to make the transition easier
During the separation, your child may feel scared, unsure or even angry. To make the transition easier, you can follow these guidelines:
- Be open about who your child will live with and at what times.
- Your child will feel safer and more confident if she knows what to expect, so keep common routines in place in both households.
- Allow your child to talk to the other parent whenever she wants to, whether on the phone or in person.
- Never speak negatively about the other parent to your child, family members, or friends.
- Be friendly whenever your child is dropped off or picked up by the other parent.
- Never weaken the other parent’s authority or reverse decisions that he or she has made.
- Do not expect your child to act as a messenger. Rather communicate directly with the other parent.
- Keep other important adults in your child’s life informed about what’s happening so that they can also support your child.
- Try to attend school meetings and appointments with the other parent so that you can both be informed.
Divorce or separation can be incredibly tough when children are involved. However, there’s a lot that can be done to help your child cope more effectively. If you’re dealing with a divorce, remember that your child needs you now more than ever. So, offer plenty of reassurance and a feeling of stability. This will help ease the impact of the separation on your child.