Coping with a divorce is difficult enough for spouses, but it can be even more of a challenge for their children who might not be able to grasp why their parents will no longer live together. It is your job as a parent to ease their anxieties, fears, and ensure they are able to cope in a healthy manner with the coming changes.
Once you have gotten past the heavy task of breaking the news to them about your divorce, the real work will begin. Your children will probably experience a range of emotions, including anger, disappointment, guilt, and sadness. You do not have to hover over them, but you should make yourself available to them and let them know you are always ready to talk.
Tips for Getting Your Children Through the Divorce
A divorce can feel a lot like a period of mourning since, after all, it is a sort of loss that you are experiencing. It is normal to feel sad and to wish that this were not happening, but you need to remind them that it is for the best and that it does not mean you love them any less. You are both still their parents and will continue to be a family in that sense.
Here are some other tips that will come in handy to help your children cope:
- Tell your children to be honest about their feelings. Kids often fear that their thoughts and feelings will not be taken seriously by adults, so let them know that you want to hear what they have to say and that they will be treated with respect.
- Kids sometimes have a difficult time articulating what they are feeling and act out instead of talking. If you can read their behavior and actions, try to help them put it into words.
- Help your kids feel validated. For example, if you know they are feeling sad, acknowledge it and offer ways to address it. Let them know it is okay to feel upset about the divorce and that it is also okay to feel happy about the future.
- Most importantly, be supportive. Your children might not know what to do to feel better, but you can offer some suggestions, such as a day in the park or a walk. If your children are very young, offer to let them talk on the phone to their other parent.
- It is also important to take care of yourself. If you want to be helpful to your kids, you are going to need to be at your best, so do not neglect your own needs. Make sure you stay active, maintain a healthy diet, and spend time with friends who can offer emotional support.
Divorce is an emotionally difficult experience, but your family will be able to get through it with a little time and effort.
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