Supportive Parents Minimize the Impact of Divorce on Children
October 10, 2016
Children of all ages are significantly impacted during and after a divorce, but support from parents can minimize any potential negative effects of the separation. Children need to understand that both parents will continue to be a part of their lives and that the divorce is not their fault. Setting a routine can be tremendously helpful; when children understand that things may be different but predictable, they experience a sense of security. As adults, it is critical that you refrain from arguing or speaking negatively about your spouse in front of your children. Explain why you are getting a divorce without blame; for young children, a simple explanation is probably enough, but older children may need additional details. Engaging the services of an experienced family therapist may also be beneficial.
Provide Calm, Listening Ears and Plenty of Reassurance
During a divorce, children are likely to experience a wide range of emotions including sadness, guilt and anger. By listening to your children in a calm manner, you'll allow them to express and work through their feelings effectively. Be sure to let children know that they are not responsible for the divorce and that both parents still love them just as before. They'll want to know that both parents will continue to be a part of their lives and and in what ways their day to day routines will change.
Cultivate Emotional Maturity
One of the most important gifts you can give your children is the gift of your own emotional maturity. Refraining from speaking negatively about your spouse in front of your children prevents them from feeling like they must take sides in the divorce. Keep your arguments away from the ears of children and when prompted for explanations about why the divorce is happening, be honest and clear without adding unnecessary details. Regardless of your feelings towards each other, your children want to continue to cherish time with both of their parents. If you need a friend or someone to talk to about your divorce, seek another trusted adult and allow your children to remain free of burdens beyond their control.