5 WAYS TO HELP YOUR CHILD DEAL WITH DIVORCE
Divorce is rarely easy for anyone, but the process tends to be especially difficult for children. While nearly all children will struggle somewhat with their parents’ divorce, there are a number of ways to help them deal with the situation in a healthy way.
- MAKE SURE YOUR CHILD KNOWS THEY ARE LOVED
For many parents, this tip may seem obvious. However, it’s especially important to reinforce your love for your child during this stressful time. This is particularly relevant when your spouse is failing to show up for planned visits or other activities. As difficult as it may seem, you must let the child know that they can continue to have loving, healthy relationships with both parents.
- BE HONEST & STRAIGHTFORWARD
Many parents underestimate a child’s ability to tell when something is amiss. While your child hardly needs all the intimate details of the divorce, it’s vital to explain the situation in simple, age-appropriate terms they can understand. Encourage them to communicate and ask any questions they may have.
- AVOID FIGHTING IN FRONT OF YOUR KIDS
Few things make divorce more difficult for children than witnessing their parents fight. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend time with your spouse and try to be friends; for many divorced couples, this simply isn’t reasonable. For your child’s benefit, you must make the effort to be respectful toward the other parent whenever your child is around.
- DON’T USE THEM AS THERAPISTS OR SOUNDING BOARDS
Children simply aren’t emotionally equipped to handle the stress of a divorce. In fact, most adults struggle with the process, and often turn to their children to vent their feelings. If you find yourself unable to control what you say around your child, you should visit a professional therapist who can help you deal with your emotions in a healthy way.
- ENCOURAGE THEM TO SHARE THEIR FEELINGS
Children often have difficulty finding the words to express their feelings. It’s very helpful to sit with your child, observe their body language, and help them formulate any questions they may have. It may be necessary to utilize the service of a licensed therapist or counselor. It can be beneficial to read an age-appropriate book on divorce together, as it can help them better understand what they’re going through.