Divorces are definitely not pleasant and can drain one in more ways than one. Children are the actual casualties of divorces. It is not only the couple that has to endure the divorce but the kids as well. Kids also feel that stress and the impact of it all can last a really long time. The stages of grief are felt on the child as well and in some instances, the child can get stuck on one emotion all the way to adulthood if the divorce is not handled well. So, the decision to get a divorce has become irreversible and it has to go through given the circumstances, how can couples help their children deal with divorce?
Listening needs to be the first thing you do. Pay a lot of attention to what your child is saying as this will help your child know that he or she is being heard. Maintain a healthy relationship with your child as this will help them open up about the divorce along the way and you can work it all out together.
It is also important to break the news of the divorce to your child in person. This has to be done by both parents at the same time. Practice this discussion beforehand so that by the time you are doing this, you shall have worked out how to do so without bringing in feelings of anger, resentment, hurt and blame. Look into what is co-parenting to see what it is all about and also study the child support guidelines. Answer the questions smartly and help your child understand what is happening.
You should know that kids are different and they react very differently. It goes without saying that the kids will react but it is important to help them through it all. They should know and feel that you care about their feelings and that they are valid and it is okay for them to be upset. You will realize that not all kids will react as you expect them too because some of them will keep their feelings hidden and act like they are okay. These kids either want to please you as the parent or they just are not ready to deal with all these difficult feelings. Give them assurance that whenever they are ready to share what they feel, you will hear them out.
Well, when they first react, they need to be able to cope with reality. Don’t take away their right to hope that things will be back to normal and mom and dad will be back together. They miss the kind of family they were used to and hoped for. Don’t make any promises to make them feel better but let them know that it is perfectly okay for them to hope. Be considerate of what they feel but tell them the truth so that they won’t have false hope.