Divorce is not only hard for both parties involved, it is also difficult for children. Their world is turned up-side-down as they have to make big adjustments. Emotions will run from hatred and contempt to sadness and grief and for some, maybe even relief. It is important for both parents to put their feelings aside and help their children after divorce or separation, to cope with the situation. Below guest blogger Mason Brown outlines some smart ways to help children after divorce.
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#1. Make it clear your child is loved
In some cases, after divorce, children can feel that they are unloved and not accepted. Despite what happened to you and your ex-spouse, make your children understand that you love them unconditionally.
Spend more time with them and make it a habit to know what’s going on in their lives. This ensure they will feel secure that they are still loved despite the fact that their parents are no longer together.
#2. Don’t sugarcoat the situation
Though it’s a challenge to explain what’s going on to your children, both you and your ex-spouse should tell them the truth. It will be difficult for them at first, but they will eventually understand and accept the situation.
Sugarcoating the situation in the fear that you would hurt them is never a good idea. Be honest and assure them that you are still there for them no matter what.
#3, Put an arrangement in place
Going through divorce does not mean that one party should give up their children. You should still fulfil your role as a parent to them, even though the marriage failed. Have an arrangement where you have equal time to spend with the children.
Seek the help of a good divorce lawyer/solicitor, to make sure that the arrangement is fair and beneficial to all parties.
#4. Encourage your child to communicate
After divorce, some children may experience anger and even depression. They can feel that they are alone. Communication is key. Talk to your children often. Encourage them to speak up what’s on their mind. Be prepared, they could take out their anger, frustration and disappointment on you.
Make them feel that they can talk to you at all times. If they find it difficult to talk to you, do some research about local services that children can attend. Once such example is the Rainbows program.
#5. Be mindful of your guilt
Divorced partners can go through a stage where they feel guilty about the break up of their family. It is important to remove the guilt that you’re feeling and accept that you both have tried so hard. If you feel guilty all the time, this could rub off on your children.
Show them that you have made the right decision and that this decision is for the happiness of everybody.
#6. Adopt a pet
Having a pet is one of the easiest ways to fight off sadness. A pet’s love is unconditional and can certainly help turn anyone’s day around! It can be a great comfort for children after divorce to have a pet for hugs and to listen to their woes, without giving an opinion.
#7. Explain the reasons why divorce is happening
In our experience, children are usually able to cope and accept the situation better if they understand what’s going on. Talk to your children and explain to them why it needs to end up in a divorce. Assure them though that it’s just the marriage that’s ending, you will still be a family and they will not lose either of you.
Children have to make big adjustments after divorce, but with your help, they will be able to have a smooth transition.
Do you have any tips for helping children cope after divorce? Please share them with us in the comments box below.