A divorce is almost always a painful and stressful time for everyone involved. But even if you’ve successfully shielded your children from the turmoil of your marriage, there’s no way to hide a separation, and they might feel that their entire world has been shattered. Whether your child is a toddler or a teenager, the trauma of divorce can lead to more significant issues in the future.
Divorce attorneys can make the legal process more manageable, but it’s up to you to ensure your family recovers from the grief and pain of the divorce. Your constant reassurance and composure can help defuse tension as your children learn to adjust to their new environment. Just because you and your spouse have split up doesn’t mean that the routines your children rely on have to be changed. It might help to maintain the old ways to remind your children that little has changed.
1. Don’t beat around the bush
You need to explain the new family situation simply. If you use euphemisms or try to avoid the topic, you might confuse your children further. Explain the case and let them know that the changes are permanent. They need to understand that their parents aren’t getting back together.
2. Always reassure them
Some children might think that they’re the cause of the divorce. Always show them the attention they need and reassure them that just because you and your ex are no longer together doesn’t mean that your love for them has diminished.
You also need to explain how the new arrangement will work. In cases of shared custody, you can frame it that they’re going to have two homes instead of one. You can also leave physical reminders, such as a calendar, to help your children feel safe and secure.
3. Allow your children to talk
Divorce can be a lot to deal with. You can feel tired, overwhelmed, scared, sad, and more, and your children might feel the same way. Encourage them to talk about the emotions they feel so that they can healthily express them.
While regular communication can help break down barriers, you also need to lead by example. Start by telling them what you feel about the situation. Once they see their parents opening up, they’ll be more likely to do the same.
4. Don’t badmouth the other parent
It can be very tempting to badmouth your ex, especially after an acrimonious divorce. But you need to shield your children from negative energy during this time. Your problems are yours alone, and you don’t want to infect your children with the same toxicity that led to the breakdown of your marriage. You also don’t want them to feel that they have to take sides. Treat your ex with respect.
There’s no denying that divorce is difficult for everyone in the family. But if the parents work hard to keep the peace and maintain a safe and loving environment for their children, children can begin to heal from the pain of separation.