Helping Kids Thrive After Their Parents Divorce
While divorce isn’t a good experience for the couple, it can strongly influence young children. Not only do they get a feeling of loneliness, confusion, uncertainty, and loss, but they also may think that they are the reason behind the divorce. You may want to utilize these strategies to make divorce less stressful for your children.
Explain the Divorce to Your Kids Together
Explain the divorce together (you and your co-parent) to your children in a way they can understand while sharing only age-appropriate information. You can say something like, “We understand the separation is difficult for every family member, but it’ll help everyone live a better life.” Also, try to inform your children before one of you leaves the house.
Develop a Healthy Arrangement
It’s important that you develop an initial custody agreement together even before talking to your children. For instance, the children will spend weekends with you and weekdays with your co-parent. When explaining the divorce to your children, let them clearly know the arrangement. You may put up a calendar to help them comprehend that they’ll still spend time with both of you.
Tell Your Kids You Love Them
Your divorce makes your children feel confused, vulnerable, and potentially unloved. So, be sure to tell the kids that both of you love them very much and continue doing so. Clearly mention that the decision to split isn’t anyway related to your kids, and it’ll never affect your love for them.
Don’t Criticize the Co-Parent
Regardless of how you feel about the other person, you should never express those feelings to your children. They are already confused and in pain, and these criticisms will only make their emotions worse. At present, your children need to feel the company of both of you instead of feeling guilty of betraying one parent by enjoying the other one’s company.
Let Them Vent Their Feelings
It’s vital to let your children express their feelings. If they cannot do it, they may become rebellious, isolate themselves, or perform poorly in school. However, you can help them process their feelings. You can say something like, “I know that you are sad and angry because of the separation, but I’m always available to share your feelings.”
Right now, your children need to experience stability as much as possible. While you can alter your custody schedule in specific situations, other things like chores, consequences, rules, and bedtime should remain consistent to offer stability to your children. You may also let the children decorate their room(s) in the new house of the co-parent.
Of course, divorce is difficult for both of you, it’s a must to try to protect your children from conflicts and anger. Explain the situation to your kids in such a way that they consider it the best solution for everyone. Make them feel that you support and love them while maintaining a stable environment.
Though it’ll take time, your kids will slowly adjust to the new situation and learn to accept your divorce.