When a divorce happens, everyone is affected. Not only is a relationship coming to an end, but it also means having to deal with the fallout of how it will affect your children. Children will deal with their parents’ divorce in different ways. Of course, their reactions will vary depending on their ages, personality, maturity level, and the circumstances behind the divorce. Overall, however, it’s expected that one of the initial reactions for a child being told their parents are getting a divorce is shock. It can be a stressful time for them, so it’s important to know how to talk to them and help get them through the process of your divorce.
Let’s take a look at some insightful tips that will assist you in helping to get your children through a divorce.
When it Comes to Breaking the News
Breaking the news that you and your partner are going to get a divorce is definitely not going to be an easy thing. But once you’ve finalized your plans to split up, you’ll need to sit your children down and tell them. It’s best to have both parents present for this conversation. It’s also best to leave blame and feelings of anger or guilt out of it. That will only upset your children all the more. The divorce discussion should be catered to your children’s ages, fitting their maturity and temperament. And most importantly, you must tell them that it’s not their fault. Children need reassurance that they are in no way the cause of their parents splitting up. Encourage your children to ask the two of you questions and be open and honest in your responses.
Being Prepared to Handle the Reactions
You children will react in different ways, and sometimes, they may not even react right away to the news of a divorce. Just be sure to tell your children that you recognize and care about their feelings and are there to reassure and comfort them. If they don’t give you a reaction right away, let them know it’s okay to deal with the news in their own time and when they’re ready to talk to you about it, you’ll be there. Amidst the reactions, you’ll also need to be prepared for a wave of questions that may come up such as being asked who they will live with and if they will have to move away.
Helping to Cope with Consistency and Reassurance
It’s normal for everyone within the family to mourn the loss of their once seemingly normal family life. Of course, you and your children will adapt over time, but it’s important to reassure your children that things are going to be okay. Encourage honesty with each other and be sure to legitimize their feelings. Consistency is also a vital key to ensuring that your children get through the divorce okay and can continue on with their normal daily routine. Be consistent with how you treat and interact with your children. Be aware of any behavioral changes, especially in older children, as the stress of a parents’ divorce can lead to risky behaviors like drug and alcohol use.
Don’t Fight in Front of Your Children
If your children are continuously exposed to negativity, arguing, screaming, and unresolved conflict, this can not only stress them out, but place a very heavy burden upon their shoulders as well. If you’re constantly arguing in front of your children, this could have a negative impact upon their views of future relationships. So, it’s important to work out the differences between you and your partner away from your children and perhaps through talking through a counselor or mediator instead.
Adjustments Will be Key
Obviously, there are going to be new living arrangements once you and your partner finalize your divorce. And where your children are going to be living is a huge decision to make. Living arrangements should be handled gradually to allow your children to properly adjust to the impending changes they’ll be facing such as possible having to move away and start at a new school. Make sure your children have plenty of time to adjust to not only dealing with their parents not being together any longer, but also to the way their lives will change as well.
The most important thing to remember when having to break the news of a divorce to your children is to just be there for them. Both of you are still their parents, and they will look to you for support and strength in getting through what will be a difficult time for the entire family.