Going through a separation can be tough for everyone involved. While you may want to wallow in your sadness – and you should certainly make time to do so – if you have children, you need to understand that this will affect them as well.
Whether they are young and don’t fully understand what is happening, or they are older, it’s sure to be a very difficult time for them. That’s why you need to help them cope. Keep reading to learn how.
Get a lawyer
You might be wondering how a lawyer can help make the process easier for your children. The truth is that divorces tend to be more amicable when a lawyer is involved. This means that you and your spouse might be able to remain on good terms. If you go through the process without a lawyer, things could get ugly.
A lawyer serves as the mediator or third party in this stressful situation. You and your spouse’s minds can be affected by intense emotions towards each other, clouding logical reasoning and rational thinking. A lawyer can help you find ways to better communicate with each other and deal with your children’s welfare and future.
On top of that, a lawyer such as a Skyview Law family lawyer will have experience dealing with such matters and be able to work out a situation that is best for the children as well as for you and your ex-partner.
Consider having them get therapy
Divorce can tremendously affect young children, especially those with disabilities. Some children can cope with the effects of a divorce without it impacting them too severely, but most children struggle. Younger children will be confused and have problems adapting to the change, whereas older children may get angry and lash out.
If you are not equipped to deal with this yourself, getting professional help for your kids can be a great idea. This way, they will learn to deal with their emotions, and the divorce won’t seem as daunting to them.
It pays off to take advantage of early childhood intervention in Perth to help your child physically and psychologically. An occupational therapist can give you and your children guidance in dealing with the stress and problems caused by separation.
A family counselor can provide thorough family coaching sessions to help each of you communicate concerns and support one another. In this way, family members feel included and understood throughout the divorce. Children also receive assurance that they should not blame themselves for their parent’s separation.
Behavior therapy is one example of a psychotherapy treatment that children of divorcing couples can undergo to overcome the psychological impacts of separation. An example of behavior therapy is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which teaches the children how to become aware and cope with their negative thoughts and behaviors towards a stressful situation.
Therapy can also be a good idea to help your child in general, not just when it comes to the divorce. You can learn more about whether your child would benefit from therapy here.
You should make time for yourself and you should also deal with your own emotions. Even if you will want to focus all of your attention on your children, you need to take care of yourself too.
That being said, you shouldn’t get so caught up in your own feelings that you aren’t there for your kids. Even if they blame you or they are angry at you, they still need you. Keep in mind that they may struggle and not be themselves for a while. You should support them and allow them a safe space to talk about their feelings. Being a supportive parent can be hard, but it’s so worth it.
Be honest with them
While you may want to shelter your children from any hurt, you also need to be honest with them about the situation. Of course, there are some things that they don’t need to know. For example, they don’t need to know about child support issues. You also shouldn’t badmouth your ex-spouse in front of your children.
But you certainly shouldn’t hide the fact that you are getting divorced. Blindsiding children with such big news is never a good idea. Find a good balance between sheltering them and being honest.
Rules for Helping Your Child Deal with Divorce
Divorce can put an end to some unhappy, unhealthy marriages and, in the end, it may be the best solution for a struggling family. However, if you’re a parent going through it, you’re probably considering more than just yourself. You are not alone if you lie awake at night wondering how your children are affected. There are ways to make everyone’s family transition a little easier.
For children, going through a divorce can be an extremely upsetting and exhausting experience. Some children will blame themselves for the dissolution of their parent’s marriage, which can lead to feelings of guilt on their part.
Others might engage in disruptive behavior, or their academic performance might suffer. When a child is exposed to conflict, it can cause anxiety and cognitive dissonance in them, which frequently leads them to side with one parent over the other to alleviate the discomfort they are feeling or to seek out unhealthy outlets outside the home in which to express their emotions. The following are some recommendations to follow when assisting your child in dealing with divorce.
1. Tell your child that they are not at fault
The majority of children tend to blame themselves, either consciously or unconsciously, for their parent’s decision to divorce. They may believe that they were the cause of their parent’s breakup. They may torment themselves with a variety of different suspicions and experiences.
At this point, it is essential to convey to your child that the breakup of your marriage is not their fault and that the situation is not their fault. Even though you and your partner will no longer be together, it is important to reassure your child that you and your partner will always love them.
2. Do not take out your frustration on your child
We frequently find ourselves in a vulnerable position after a divorce. Mentioning a previous spouse or their behavior can elicit a range of unfavorable reactions, including rage, disappointment, and other unfavorable feelings. As a result, you need to exercise an extreme degree of caution about how you communicate with your child during these times.
Keep your speech and the mood of the conversation under control. The human psyche of a child is structured differently than that of an adult. They internalize your feelings and take them on as their own.
Consider what you say and how you say it when you talk about the second parent. In addition, make an effort to describe how you are feeling and the reasons why you are angry, upset, or worried. Your child will feel more reassured that you will continue to love them if you talk to them about how you are feeling and explain it to them.
3. Tell your child they have not lost the other parent
Another rule for assisting your child in coping with divorce is to emphasize that the child has not lost the second parent and that both parents will continue to love them regardless of the changes.
Divorce is frequently perceived by children as the loss of a parent who will no longer live with them. It is important to discuss with your child that, even though you will no longer be living together, each parent will continue to spend quality time with them.
Constant reminders that both parents love the child assist children in coping with separation and feeling valued by both parents. This prevents the child from developing a negative image of the second parent.
4. Do not resolve issues in front of your child
Do not argue with the other parent in front of your child for the sake of their well-being and mental health, and do not use the child as a manipulative tool.
Don’t, for example, threaten your ex-partner with not seeing your child if they don’t pay for certain things. Children whose parents are divorcing are unconcerned about who pays for what. They require constant communication with both parents.
Never include your children in your conflicts. The amount of parental conflict a child witnesses during and immediately following divorce has a significant impact on their adjustment.
5. Talk to your child about family changes
When assisting your child in coping with divorce, explain to them what will change within the family.
For example, you may have to relocate, which may necessitate having another trusted adult pick them up after school and transport them to extracurricular activities. Other changes include the child having to travel back and forth between two homes.
Explaining these changes in a language that a child can understand will reduce their stress.
Divorcing families should discuss all family changes with all parties involved to better understand how to navigate the situation as a whole. The most important thing is to always be open to discussion with your child and to never keep anything from them.
6. Do not talk negatively about the other parent
One more thing that parents can do to assist their children in coping with the trauma of divorce is to refrain from laying blame on or berating the other parent in front of the kids. The only thing that can be gained by criticizing or accusing someone is negative energy. You are free to discuss these topics with friends or during psychotherapy sessions at any time; however, there is no reason to subject your young children and their impressionable minds to this subject matter.
Never take out your anger or frustration on your children or coerce them into choosing a side; this can be a very traumatic experience for a child. You should always make an effort to keep your relationship with your ex-partner on a civilized level.
7. All your child to express emotions
Don’t ignore your child’s emotions, even if they bother you. Instead, recognize their emotions as the child’s reaction to what is going on around them. It assists them in better understanding their communication skills, regulating their behavior, and learning to understand others.
For example, if your child’s father does not communicate with them after the divorce, try to share their grief. Explain that it is acceptable to be upset and miss someone important.
Your child values your presence and the opportunity to share experiences with them. Do not dismiss their grief or desire to cry. They, like you, are going through a difficult time and have the right to feel various emotions.
8. Be honest about your separation as simply as possible
Parents should explain divorce to their children in simple terms based on their age. Consider the child’s life maturity and temperament level when discussing the current situation when dealing with divorce and children. You can tell your child that your divorce is the result of specific issues, but you are not required to go into specifics.
You may need to explain everything several times because it is difficult for them to understand and accept that their parents will not be together. Remember, when discussing divorce with a child, do not blame the other parent or say anything negative about them.
9. Do everything that you can to make your child feel loved
You must first remember that your child always requires your love and support, whether or not they are going through a major transition. And this is especially true in a stressful situation like divorce.
Your child should understand and believe that you are always available to answer their questions and lend a listening ear when they need to express certain feelings and emotions. This is a difficult time for your child, so keep things as normal as possible.
10. Encourage your child to talk about the separation
There are numerous ways you can assist your child in coping with divorce. One of them is expressing their feelings, which helps to relieve pain and stress. Encourage your children to communicate and discuss it.
Divorce is difficult to navigate and may necessitate several face-to-face meetings. Assist them in expressing and acknowledging their emotions. Finally, if you believe that therapy is necessary, do not disregard it.
11. Support your child’s routine and activities as much as possible
Changes and unfamiliar routines can be a source of stress for a child during a divorce. As a result, they should try to keep changes to a minimum and stick as closely to their regular daily routine as possible.
If your child’s routine includes Thursday night pizza nights and weekend trips to the park, stick with it. Keep prior obligations and promises as much as possible, and your child will gradually adjust to the changes.
Divorce is difficult, but it is not the end of the world. Parents differ, but they are united by the most important person in their lives—their child.
The key, as with any painful situation, is to adapt. If you’re wondering how to handle separation with a child, keep in mind that communication is the first step toward moving forward. During all of the changes that surround them, each parent must do everything in their power to ensure that their child feels needed and loved.