Every year, thousands of marriages end in divorce, and while the experience is painful for partners, the emotional pain can also be incredibly damaging to those who don’t have a say in this life-changing decision – the children.
It is the role of the parents, both of them, to try to minimize the damage that’s often a part of the process, and help their children cope with divorce more effectively. Below, a couple of steps you can take to help your children through this difficult period in life.
Let your child know they’re loved
From anxiety and depression to frustration and anger, there are a lot of negative feelings that surround the process of separation and divorce. Different kids will interpret them in different ways depending on their age and personality. Some may learn how to cope better with stress and become more tolerant individuals later on. Others, however, may start to blame themselves for their parents’ divorce, which can be detrimental to their self-esteem.
Regardless of your child’s initial reaction to the news, you need to make it clear to them that your decision to go separate ways does not change the way you feel about them. Let them know they’re loved, and provide reassurance if the other parent doesn’t show the same level of commitment.
Keep the lines of communication open
As a parent, you want to keep the lines of communication open during this difficult period and encourage your kids to talk. Let your children know that they can rely on you whenever they feel like talking to you, feel sad or confused, or simply need to ask you something.
They will be disappointed, angry, and sad, and they will probably wish for their parents to reunite. Your job is to allow your children to express their feelings, whatever they may be. Giving them the option to voice their emotions will help ease their frustration and help them feel empowered. Whatever you do, don’t downplay their emotions – it shows that they shouldn’t feel the way they do. Instead, let them know that their feelings matter. It’ll help teach your children to confront any negative feelings they have instead of avoiding them, which will only help them later in life.
Seek help to deal with your own painful feelings more easily
Separation and divorce are just as stressful for the parents, and things such as custody, property, and financial problems only make the already overwhelming process even more challenging and painful. Finding effective ways to cope with divorce stress is essential during these difficult times, and keeping yourself healthy, both physically and emotionally, is important now more than ever.
If you know someone who went through this, consider talking to them. It can help you adjust to the situation and provide you with some valuable insights. You can also look for support groups, seek help from friends and family, and visit a therapist or a counselor. By dealing with your own painful feelings in a healthy way, you’ll set an example for your kids, and they’ll follow suit and adjust to this big change in the same way.
Make the transition as peaceful as possible
Despite the efforts to maintain their marriage, more couples are choosing to go their separate ways, and the divorce rates around the world are increasing. While the number of divorces involving children has dropped significantly over the years in places such as Australia (from 67.6% in 1975 to 47.1% in 2017), there are still thousands of marriages that end each year.
When ending a marriage seems like the only option, finding a trustworthy legal professional such as a reputable family lawyer in Brisbane can aid couples in navigating divorce-related matters and help them achieve a fair outcome. With a reliable professional by your side, you can deal with challenges more calmly and effectively while also being able to focus on the bigger picture and look to the future, thus making the transition as peaceful as possible.
Do your best to maintain your daily routines
Divorce is a life-changing event and it can really make the children feel like their life has turned around 180 degrees. This is why remaining consistent with routines is so essential during this difficult period.
Having a routine to follow provides a sense of security, familiarity, and comfort – things that children desperately need when dealing with such a major life change. Therefore, do your best to maintain your daily routines – stick to your schedules, minimize abrupt changes, and keep things predictable. Doing so will reduce the risk of negative behavioral changes and help your kids overcome this particularly sensitive period.
Getting divorced is a decision that inevitably creates a lot of stress and tension, especially when it comes to ending a marriage with children. It is during these times that children need their parents’ love, support, and understanding the most. If you follow these five rules, you can help your kids adjust to the new situation, overcome negative emotions, and look forward to the future after the divorce.
About the Author
Claire Adams is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. She enjoys life to the fullest in the healthiest way possible and loves to share her insights into parenting, education, and entrepreneurship. She is a regular author for Ripped.me and you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.