Going through a separation or divorce is emotional for both adults and children. Children frequently do not understand the reason or meaning behind a divorce, thus creating confusion, anger, and stress. Oftentimes, children will internalize the blame for problems that led to the divorce. Their left with unjustified feelings of shame, guilt, and self blame. It can be traumatic for a child of any age to witness the disbanding of a marriage, and the breakup of a family.
Tips for Parents
As a parent, there are many things that you can do to help effectively navigate your child through the process of divorce.
Keep arguments, legal discussions, and overall conflict away from the kids
It sounds simple enough, but many parents have heated disagreements and arguments in the presence of their children. Do not do this! If something needs to be hashed out, do it in private. The kids do not need to be privy to this kind of drama.
Do not use children as leverage.
When your former partner is not on their best behavior, please do not use your children to get something from them. This not only hurts your relationship with your kids, but it is also demeaning, and can do damage to their self worth.
Keep daily and weekly routines as consistent as possible
Consistency and routine provide a child with structure and stability. This provides a child with a feeling of safety and security that is a crucial part of the healing process.
Both parents stay actively involved in the child’s life.
After a divorce, it is common for parents who split custody to only attend certain events or birthday parties where they know that their former spouse will not be. An active parent that is available for all events conveys the message that the child is important and that the parent is willing to work as a co-parenting partner with their former spouse. This promotes a teamwork mentality.
Divorce affects all children in different ways.
When dealing with this situation, the most important thing for your child to know is that they are loved, cared for, and that none of what is going on is their fault.
For more information relevant to helping children cope with separation, divorce, or any other child or family related issue, please contact us at 832-421-8714. We are all in this together!