Divorce is a hard transition for all involved, but it can be especially difficult divorcing with kids. When you and your spouse decide to split, assisting your children through the change is vital. Here are five ways you can assist your child in coping with divorce.
Provide Love and Reassurance
It is important to reassure your children that they are loved, cared for, and heard. Make sure that your child understands that you will never outgrow them or love them any less. When discussing splitting up, keeping the effects of a divorce on children in mind is essential.
Open and honest communication is incredibly important when a child is going through their parents’ divorce. Giving your child time to talk, process, and ask questions can create a little hope in an otherwise worrisome situation.
Find ways for your child to express themselves and the emotions they are having. Hanging out with each parent, spending time with friends, and jotting things down in a journal can be positive coping tools for your kids in a divorce. Ways you can facilitate dialogue with your family about divorce effects on children include:
- One-on-one time
- Peer interaction
- Feeling’s journal/ scrapbook
- Read books on the topic
Kids need to know that their feelings are normal and they will feel better over time. Find safe and acceptable outlets for your kids to get their aggression out. This will help them channel those feelings into activities they enjoy. Some potential outlets are:
- Quiet zone – Give your child a comforting place where they can feel calm, away from the noise and distractions of the rest of the house.
- Art projects
- Therapy – Short-term counseling can help your child get through the crisis they’re feeling.
When you see that your child is experiencing a powerful emotion, try asking them about it. You might say, “It seems like you are feeling upset right now. Is there anything I can do to help you?”
Remember That Your Child Is a Child
While kids in a divorce often mature quickly, it is important to encourage them to be the children they are. Phrases like “You’re the man of the house now” can cause major emotional damage that lasts for years. That type of pressure puts adult responsibilities on someone who would rather be focused on childhood. Parents should also avoid making children choose between being with their friends and spending time with them.
If you can co-parent, it is highly encouraged. This can help lessen negative divorce effects on children. Not making your kids choose one parent over another will allow them to continue to be young and carefree. It will also help them feel more comfortable knowing they will see both parents regularly.
When divorcing with kids, you should keep some familiar items at both homes including blankets, games, and favorite foods. It is also important for both households to be on the same page when it comes to rules and privileges. What isn’t allowed in one parent’s house shouldn’t be acceptable in the other’s either.
Struggling Through Divorcing with Kids?
At the Law Offices of Paul Bowen, we know helping your child through this divorce is your number one concern. Allow us to handle the legal side while you worry about the next steps for your family. Give our law offices a call today at (727) 773-1554.