For children, divorce can be stressful, upsetting, and confusing. Whatever their age they are bound to feel uncertainty and anger at the prospect of their parents splitting up and things never being the same again.
But as a parent, you can make the process and its effects less painful for your children, making the whole experience slightly more bearable for them and maybe a little easier for yourselves.
There are many ways you can help your kids adjust to separation or divorce, but being honest with them from the start will form a solid base for you to maintain a healthy and loving relationship throughout this difficult time.
When it comes to telling your kids about your divorce, many parents freeze up. So make the conversation a little easier for everyone by preparing what you say before you sit down to talk.
Here are a few things you can do in order to help your children through the turmoil of a divorce.
Be honest – Your children are entitled to know why you are getting a divorce, but a long-winded response may only confuse them more. You may need to remind your children that while sometimes parents and kids don’t always get along, parents and kids don’t stop loving each other.
Tell then you love them – It may sound simple but letting your children know that your love for them hasn’t changed is a powerful message. Tell them you’ll still be caring for them in every way as you always have.
Listen – Encourage your kids to share their feelings and really listen to them. They may be feeling sadness, loss or frustration about things you may not have expected, so this is their chance to tell you.
Be patient – Kids may seem to understand one day and be unsure the next. Treat your child’s changing moods and confusion with patience and understanding.
Tell them it’ll be okay – Tell kids that things won’t always be easy, but that thing will be okay in the end. Knowing it’ll be all right can often provide an incentive for your kids to give a new situation more of a chance.
Show affection – Give your children as many hugs and kisses as you can. This will reassure them that whatever is happening in your marriage, your feelings for them have not changed.
Have fun – Try to inject as much fun-time and play into your life and the lives of your children as you can; it can relieve stress and give you all a break from the sadness and confusion that exists.