If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, you’ve likely already weighed all the pros and cons in making your decision. One of the major cons to your decision to get a divorce was probably how this life change would affect your children. Even with the more civil and amicable divorces, children are often still heavily affected by this new way of life. But to help make this transition easier and less painful for everyone involved, here are three tips for helping your kids work through your divorce.
Try To Keep Their Routines
To help your kids cope with this new situation that you all find yourselves in, one of the best things you can do is help your kids maintain some semblance of a routine. According to KidsHealth.org, minimizing the disruptions that happen with your child’s daily routines will help them feel that there’s more control in their life. Whether this means staying at a particular parent’s house during the week or just making sure that they eat their meals at consistent times, keeping as much routine as possible can make life go much smoother for your child during a divorce.
Don’t Create “Sides”
One of the worst things you can do for your children when going through a divorce is force them to take sides, whether obviously or subtly. According to HelpGuide.org, parents encourage their child to take sides when the fight in front of them, speak unkindly about their other parent in front of them, use their child as a means of communicating between each other, and participate in other acts that create a power position. If your child feels that they’re being pulled to one side over another, this can make it very hard for them to feel safe in any situation.
Let Them Feel Whatever They’re Feeling
During a divorce, there are going to be a lot of hard feelings that take up a lot of your child’s emotional space. And because divorce is a very adult problem to have, your young child might struggle with dealing with these big, complicated emotions. So to ensure that they don’t have lasting emotional problems because of this, Holly St. Lifer, a contributor to Parents.com, recommends that you allow your child to feel and work through whatever emotions they’re currently dealing with. If they feel disappointed or angry, let them feel these feelings. What you can do as the parent is teach them effective ways to confront their problems and work through their emotions rather than letting them rule their life.
If your family is struggling through a divorce right now, consider using the tips mentioned above to help your child come through this experience without too many problems.