How can you help your children accept your divorce? – 10 helpful tips
As a parent, you are devastated by the divorce process, you are afraid of the unknown and you don’t know who you should trust anymore. These feelings are no different for your children. Children know and sense that something is wrong no matter what their age is. They are scared, sometimes they feel that their parents are separating because of them, and sometimes they are stressed by the unknown that lies ahead. Many professionals have studied kids’ behaviour post-separation and there is very good advice out there telling parents what to do to help them go through this difficult experience as smoothly as possible.:
- Tell your children the truth in simple terms with simple explanations. If you or your ex-spouse has left the home, tell them where he/she is.
- Reassure them that they will continue to be taken care of and that their parents will make sure that they will always be safe.
- Your children will learn that parents sometimes stop loving each other. Reassure them that a parent’s love for a child is a special kind that never stops.
- Children feel responsible for causing the divorce. Reassure them that they are not to blame. They may also feel that it is their responsibility to bring their parents back together. Let them know your decision is made but that if it changes it will not be because of anything THEY do.
- Don’t use your child as a way to get back at your spouse. Children can be terribly wounded this way.
- Don’t say bad things about the other parent in front of your child. Children believe that they are like their parents and badmouthing your ex-spouse will feel by them like they are being badmouthed.
- Don’t say or do anything that might discourage the child from spending time with the other parent.
- Don’t encourage a child to take sides: that would be very unfair to them to give them two parents only to ask that they discard one.
- Don’t rely on your children for emotional support. They are not your friends or your counsellors and they do not wish to be either.
- Even though it may be the last thing you feel like doing, cooperating with your ex-spouse during and after your divorce is the best gift you can give your children. They will learn that conflicts can be resolved amicably, which is a valuable lesson.