Divorce can be tough for everyone involved, especially children. There are, however, steps you can take to help your kids better adjust to the new reality of their situation.
1. Make sure that children know that the divorce is not their fault. Kids often feel that they are somehow responsible for their parents splitting up. It is important to reassure them that they are not to blame.
2. Create stability where you can. Obviously, divorce creates upheaval, but keeping familiar rituals can lessen the sense of helplessness. Whenever possible, keep bedtimes, social activities, school, mealtimes, etc. as stable as possible. Minimize disruptions to the extent you are able to do so.
3. Don't speak negatively about the other parent in front of the children. It is understandable to experience frustration and anger when going through a divorce. It can be hard to keep from criticizing the other parent, but it is important to do so. Save the negative comments for therapy or a night out with a friend. Remember that your children love both of you. If you do say something regrettable, acknowledge it and apologize as soon as possible.
4. Allow kids to experience emotions. Despite your best efforts, there will almost certainly be times when your kids are angry, sad, or both about what is happening. This is normal. Acknowledge your children's feelings, do your best to help them navigate their emotions, and assure them that they are loved. It is often helpful to have a therapist to whom the children can speak candidly about what they are experiencing.
Although divorce is not something we want our children to experience, rest assured that they can not only survive, but thrive. To discuss the process of divorcing with children, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-231-9865.