By: Morgan Rahimi
No one goes into marriage hoping that it will end in divorce, at least I hope not. Divorce is never easy, but add children to the equation and you now have a whole new plethora of issues to face. How do I break the news of the divorce to my children? How do I keep my connection with my son/daughter? How do I share my child? How do we divide custody? Every family is going to have to answer these questions for themselves as every family has different dynamics.
Research has shown there are tips that may help your children cope more effectively with a divorce.
Tip #1: Tell your children why you are divorcing or, at the very least, share with them as much as you are able to. Children often blame themselves or a parent for the divorce, so be prepared for questions. If possible, tell them when both parents are present. Many children need reassurance that they are still loved and they are not to blame.
Tip #2: Be available to listen and always be active in the relationship. Remember, listening is a dynamic sport that takes both listening and reflecting back what you hear. All children cope with divorce in different ways; some may be very inquisitive, while others stay to themselves. Letting your children explore their feelings about your divorce in their own way is important, don’t argue or avoid them. At all times, be patient and involved.
Tip #3: Don’t put your children in the following positions:
-A messenger in parental messages. For example, “tell your father he’s late with the daycare tuition.”
-A weapon between you and your spouse. Children need quality time with both parents and don’t need to be used as a pawn.
-A spy for you to learn information about your spouse. Let your child tell you what they would like to about their time spent with the other parent. Don’t push for more information then they want to give.
-A side taker in any dispute with your spouse.
Tip #4: Don’t speak or write negatively about the other parent. Criticizing your spouse can be seen by your child as criticizing them. In today’s society, gossip is king and many children can learn about their family issues from friends and social media. Remember, most children are much more observant then their parents give them credit for.
Tip #5: Let your child be a child. It’s easy to bring your child in as a confidant in dealing with your divorce, but it is wrong. No matter how mature your child acts at times or how old in actual years they may be, your children are still your children. At no time should they be your sounding board or your “rock”.
Tip #6: Keep your promises. Children need consistency. Proving you are trustworthy, will strengthen your relationship.
Dealing with divorce as a parent is never easy. If ever in doubt on how you should handle yourself with your children, remember to always take the high road. You are the parent and they are the child. Helping your children handle divorce means providing stability in your home and attending to your children’s needs with a reassuring, caring and positive attitude. It won’t be a seamless process, but these tips can help your children cope more effectively.
For more assistance in coping with divorce for you and/or your children, contact Life Counseling Solutions at 407.622.1770. Or, you can schedule online here with your first appointment.