Helping Your Child Cope with Divorce
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divorce is certainly difficult for both spouses involved, it is almost more emotionally
damaging for the children. When children experience changes in all that
they've ever known, it can seriously impact their stability, both
at home and at school.
If your children are dealing with the repercussions of your recent divorce,
it is important that you take the time to help them navigate such a difficult
experience. Whether they are adjusting to a new school with different
friends, or simply having to cope with living in two different houses,
you can help.
Sometimes, the best way to
support your child during a difficult divorce is simply by letting them know you
care. Take this even further by utilizing these strategies at home.
Watch your words.
Your child's job is not to act as a sounding board throughout your
divorce. Speaking about your former spouse negatively or making derogatory
remarks will only upset your child. Remember – you may not be married
to that person anymore, but they are still your child's parent. Avoid
making your child feel guilty for the time they spend with the other parent.
Get along with your ex.
Although difficult, making an effort to be friendly and cordial toward
your ex will go a long way in reassuring your child. Minimizing the emotional
trauma as much as possible is important for your child's well-being.
Treat your child as a child.
When you are experiencing frustration at the hands of your ex, it can
be tempting to rely on your child for emotional support. However, remember
that they are not your equal! Children are incapable of dealing with your
feelings and are going through a lot on their own right now. Verbalize
your emotions with a close friend, but not your child.
Find a routine and stick to it.
Your child is currently experiencing a great deal of change. Any unnecessary
change at home will only upset them further, so try to stick with some
familiarity at home. Keep a normal bedtime routine, encourage playdates
with friends, and make some of their favorite foods. Child thrive on routines!
Reassure your child constantly.
Your child needs to know that regardless of changes between you and your
ex, your love for them is still the same. Find creative ways to remind
them of this – notes in their lunch, special treats, and hugs throughout
the day. Do your part to reassure your child that both parents love them
and always will.
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