Children are more often than not affected by the divorce of their parents; however, the negative effects can be reduced by having divorcing parents follow these tips.
~ Talk to your child communication is the key when big changes are taking place. Changing a routine that has been ingrained in your child’s life from the moment they were born can often leave them feeling insecure about themselves, their futures, and the features of their family. Make sure you both sit down and talk to your child both individually and together and reassure them the decision to divorce was not based on anything they did.
Explaining to children the complicated nature of relationships can seem like an overwhelming, if not awkward, task, but honesty is always the best policy in situations like this. Immature and emotionally underdeveloped children often cling to the most ridiculous reasons in order to explain an unexplained divorce, often blaming themselves, so be sure you are straightforward and offer concrete reasons why your marriage has not worked, is not salvageable, and will benefit from divorce. Explain the consequences of divorce and try to elaborate on the beneficial and positive aspects, such as “Mommy is going to be so happy that she can finally do this” etcetera.
~ Make a new routine A huge change such as the divorce of parents can often lead to circumstances, which leave kids lost or confused, searching for a new routine in order to give them the sense of security that they have now lost. Right away establish a new routine. With younger children, the security of a routine will certainly take the focus away from negative aspects of divorce, and they may not even notice that anything has changed until they grow older. With older kids, it’s probably better if they are involved in the decision-making over new routines. When and where they will be with which parents should be discussed together as a family. Simply, because your marriage has dissolved, does not mean that you no longer have a role or responsibility in the family (this applies to all members) and thus the establishment of a new routine should certainly remain a family activity as well.
~ Do not fight in front of the kids. No matter how ugly or nasty it gets between the divorcing parties; it is essential that adults take the responsibility of not arguing in front of their children. Children need to learn how to solve problems without bickering and all out emotional fighting, and the stress of being in a situation where parents are pitted against each other is enough to cause long-lasting psychological damage. Be cautious of how you refer to each other when discussing your divorcing partner. It is essential that you reassure children that you are the adults and have things under control.
Fighting with your soon to be former spouse only creates tension between “family” members and instills in children the idea that verbal abuse or unhealthy expressions of anger are “okay” which they simply are not. You do not want to end up in a situation where your children are constantly putting you and your former spouse together in battle over the most trivial of all circumstances. Children are smart, and they will play you against each other, so nip it in the bud and remind them that you are teammates as parents, if not husband and wife, so you will be making decisions together regardless of marital status.
~ Get them help – Even in the best situations, there are some more sensitive children who may benefit from talking to a professional about the events surrounding and leading to your divorce. Do not hesitate to make an appointment with a family counselor who will most likely talk to you and your child both together and alone.
Divorce is never easy, but its effects certainly do not have to be negative if parents take the proper measures to ensure that their children are aware of the reasons behind their separation and that their children have realistic expectations of their futures and the future of their families.
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