How to Help your Child Cope with Your Divorce
Every year thousands of children experience parents’ divorce. Their reaction mainly depends on age, personality and additional circumstances of the divorce process.Divorcealways affects childreninvolved, and the results may be sadness, frustration, shock, worry and anger. But the only advantage is that kids, due to their personality and inner world, can cope with this divorcestress much faster and become flexible and tolerant in the future.
Breaking the News
When you have certain plans about further separation, talk with your child about this decision. Though breaking such “divorce” news has never been easy, but it would be just great if both parents were there during the conversation. The most important thing is to hide your feelings of anger, blame or disappointment about your spouse. Before the actual conversation think all the things through and decide what you are going to say. Thus, the conversation about parents’divorce should be tailored and carried out according to child’s age, temperament, maturity. Answer the main question “Why mom and dad are separating?” and explain that it’s not your kid’s fault.
However, mostchildrenstill go on feeling guilty, even if their parents assured them of this, so it’s important to provide reassurance again. Tell the child that sometimes adults may change the way of loving each other or that they can’t agree on some particular things anddivorce, but remember to remind the kid that parents will always be there for him, even if theydivorceand live apart. You give this information to prepare your child for the upcoming changes in his life. If there are questions, answer truthfully and never conceal things. If your child is too young, you should probably keep it quite simple, e.g. “Mom and dad had a little talk and decided to live in different places, but we love you so much.”
Your kids are sure to be upset after such conversation, that’s why you should tell them how much you care about their feelings and assure them that all these negative feelings are normal and understandable. You can come up with something like that “We understand how difficult it is for you to cope with ourdivorce, but we love you a lot and are sorry about these changes” or “Perhaps there is a way we can make it better for you?”
However, not all thechildrenreact right away. Some try to please eachparentby saying that everything is fine and try to avoid feelings of sadness. Sometimes this “family stress” may come out in many other situations, for instance, at school or in worsening of appetite, changing of behaviour or even insomnia.
Always be prepared to answer these questions:
Will I live with mom or dad?
Where will everybody live?
Will I move?
What school will I go to?
Will I have to make new friends?
Will we spend holidays together, e.g. Christmas or Thanksgiving?
Can I do favourite activities?
What changes there will be?Always try to be honest, although it’s not easy, becausechildrenmay feel scared or be worried. Keep in mind that they are also worried about the moral state of each parent and try to be supportive. It is always right to tell them the truth they need to know right away.
5 Things to Help a Child Cope withDivorce
1. Help children put their sadness and worries into words.
Aparentshould be a good listener.
2. Encourage honesty.
They need to know that parents are concerned about their feelings.
3. Offer support.
Ask what they will appreciate to do with anyparent, or suggest doing something fun and interesting.
4. Be healthy yourself.
For eachparentdivorceis so stressful that it can affect health.
5. Get help.
Find a counselor or an experienced psychologist, talk to your religious leader or friends about divorce . If you get help yourself, your child will see that you’re coping with it, and this will give them a good example.