How Parents Can Help Children Cope With Divorce 

Monday 07th Feb 2022 |

When parents get divorced, one of the biggest challenges is making sure that the kids are okay. Every child will react to the situation differently. Some might start blaming themselves for the fact that their parents’ marriage fell apart.

Others might become anxious, start to withdraw or even act out and misbehave. Whatever the circumstances, the situation is always upsetting. 

That’s why these children need special attention. If you are going through a divorce right now, you probably have a lot on your plate as it is. However, your kids’ feelings and fears need to be heard and addressed. No child should think their emotions aren’t valid, regardless of whether you personally understand them or not. You must be very clear and carefully assure your kids that they’re not the reason for the divorce, try to keep their routines as much as possible, and refrain from speaking negatively about the other parent when they’re listening.  

Here’s what parents should know to try to minimize the impact of their divorce on their children: 

Talk With Your Child as Much as You Can 

Even if your child doesn’t talk back or answer your questions, this doesn’t mean they’re not listening – in fact, they might be expressing their feelings differently. For instance, children whose parents are going through a divorce often become reclusive, start misbehaving at school or express otherwise unusual behaviors. 

As such, you need to ensure you listen to your kids and try to understand what they’re trying to tell you, even when they’re not speaking. Don’t hesitate to look for divorce advice online or among family and friends to help you better understand what your kids are going through.  

If your child doesn’t seem to be doing well, you may have to get help from the other parent, a family member or an outside professional. Don’t wait too long to do so. Once the divorce is finalized, you will not be able to change your mind and ask for a second chance. 

Allow Them to Ask Questions About the Divorce 

If your children bring up the divorce, avoid shutting them down. Divorce is a difficult concept for kids to grasp. Give them the chance to ask questions about what will happen moving forward and why their parents split up. Even if they repeatedly ask the same questions, try not to get irritated. Most probably, they’re anxious and seek reassurance, so you should try to stay collected and calm while answering them. This may be a great opportunity to keep communication open and let your children express their feelings.  

Your kids will have a lot of questions about their future regarding where they’re going to live, whether they’ll be able to spend time with both sets of grandparents, or how often they’ll be able to see their friends. Be as honest and open as possible.  

Even if they’re not old enough to really understand the situation, they may blame themselves for the fact that you’re getting divorced. This is especially true if they see you both upset or hear you arguing about the issue. At this point, a child might think that they are the reason for your breakup. 

If your kids bring up the topic and ask questions, be honest yet gentle with your answers. You can tell them that you and the other parent just want different things in life, which has nothing to do with them. Moreover, you may reassure them that you’re going to do your best to ensure that they’re okay no matter the situation. 

Help Them Cope With Their Emotions in Healthy Ways  

If you sense that your children are feeling overwhelmed by what’s going on, you may want to try and help them express their feelings in healthy ways. For instance, you can try to get them to draw or paint what they’re feeling or write a poem or story about it.  

You should also encourage them to keep up with their hobbies and other activities. For instance, let your kids spend time with friends and family members who love and care about them. Or, if they usually play on a sports team, make sure they continue doing so. This will give them something positive to focus on during this difficult time. You can also try to set up regular weekly family dinners. This will help your kids feel like they’re still part of a unit, even if they’re going through some tough times. 

Prepare Them for Changes  

It’s essential to tell your kids that their lives will be changing when you get divorced – there’s no point pretending everything will stay the same. The more information your children have, the easier it will be for them to adjust.   

Let them know that their time with their parents will look different from now on. If there’s a possibility they will have to change schools, don’t hide that information until the very last minute. 

Explain to your kids what will happen to them if one of you decides to move out of state or even out of the country. You can also get them involved in the decision-making process to help them feel they have some control over their lives.  

Conclusion 

Divorce is never easy, and it’s even harder if you have kids. You must be very careful when breaking the news to your kids. It’s essential that you give them as much information as possible about how their lives will change and how you’ll both be dealing with the situation. It’s also crucial that you don’t ignore their feelings or try to sweep them under the rug. 

It’s important to remember that every child is different and will react differently to divorce. Some might feel sad, angry, or even guilty about their parents’ divorce, while others might not seem affected at all. If your children are acting out or misbehaving, don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional who can offer them counseling and help them deal with their emotions. 

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