While 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.
Strategies to Help Your Kids Cope
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.