Divorce can put a stop to some unpleasant, unhealthy marriages and may ultimately be the best answer for a struggling family. However, if you’re a parent experiencing it, you’re definitely considering more than just yourself. If you’re awake at night worrying about the impact on your children, you’re not alone. There are several strategies that can help make this familial shift a little bit smoother for everyone.
According to paediatrician Heather Sever, DO, divorce and separation can have an effect on children of any age. “Children, whatever of their age, perceive when their parents are going through a difficult period. Thus, while children show their stress in a variety of ways depending on their age, it is critical for parents to be as candid and open as possible, even in stressful situations,” she says.
To support your child through this significant life milestone, you must first understand their emotions and then arm yourself with the appropriate tools for coping. Dr. Sever offers advice in the section below.
How does divorce influence children?
Divorce may be a highly stressful and overwhelming process for children. Certain youngsters blame themselves for the breakdown of a marriage and feel guilty.
Others may behave inappropriately, or their academic performance may deteriorate. When a youngster is exposed to conflict, it instils uneasiness and cognitive dissonance in them, frequently leading them to favour one parent over the other in order to alleviate their discomfort or to seek out harmful outlets for their feelings.
Depending on their age, children may experience perplexity (which is more prevalent in younger children), rage (which is more prevalent in adolescence), worry, and guilt. Each circumstance is unique.
“The good news for parents is that these psychological consequences can be mitigated,” Dr. Sever explains.
The following are ten things you can do to assist your child during this trying period.
How to assist your child in coping with divorce
Maintain an interest in your child’s life
When you are not invested in your child or do not make time for them, they will feel irrelevant. Your youngster desires both parents’ involvement in their lives. Assure your youngster of your love. Schedule time for enjoyable activities or valuable one-on-one time.
Make a concerted effort to co-parent
When you fight, particularly over a child, they will place responsibility on themselves and believe they have done something wrong. This results in guilt or depression. Make an effort to keep your youngster out of conflict by discussing issues when they are not around. Discuss issues directly with the other parent rather than through the child.
Be receptive to your youngster spending time with the other parent. Encourage your youngster to make the most of his or her time with the other parent and extended relatives (if the other parent has started a new relationship or remarried).
Keep unfavourable remarks about the other parent to a minimum.
If you speak negatively about the other parent, this forces a youngster to agree with you or pick a side. Don’t point the finger at the other parent.
Communicate truthfully. Children deserve to know the facts about why you’re divorcing, but in a simplified form. Plan ahead and communicate information appropriately. Inform the child together, if feasible. Justify forthcoming changes in living arrangements, activities, and school routines, among othmediatioer things.
Assist your youngster in expressing their emotions
It is critical to pay attention to your child. Encourage them to be candid and to express their emotions. Discussing divorce may be a continuous process. Assure them that they are not to blame for the divorce. It is very normal for them to show anger, resentment, despair, or anxiety. This should eventually fade away.
Assure them that everything will be fine. Change is difficult. Assure them that, while their schedules and daily routines will change, they will be able to adapt and settle into a new normal. Teaching mindfulness may even result in the formation of a new link between you.
Maintain routines. Consistency and organisation are essential
This provides your child with a sense of security and stability during times of change in other areas of their life. Allow them to breach the rules or become lax with chores/responsibilities, but do not allow them to become irresponsible.
Take care of your own health.
Make time for self-care. Utilize effective coping mechanisms such as exercise, healthy diet, maintaining contact with friends, or writing in a journal to help you cope with your situation. Additionally, you can join a support group.
Consult a counsellor
Consult a specialist or A M Mediators if your youngster is overwhelmed by the divorce. A counsellor or therapist can reassure you and your child and lay the groundwork for future healing and optimism.
If you’re considering seeking professional assistance, speak with your child’s paediatrician about obtaining a referral to a counsellor. This will assist in ensuring their social, emotional, and spiritual well.