Children and Divorce: How to Help Them Cope

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If you have been through a divorce or if you are currently going through a divorce, you know that it is a very emotional time for both partners. At times, you may experience anger, resentment, betrayal or emotional pain over the situation. However, it is important to remember that when children are involved, your divorce is much more than the separation of you and your partner. A nasty divorce can tear families apart, forcing children to also go through a huge life adjustment as they deal with their own emotions.

As a parent, you should take every step possible to help your child cope with the divorce. Children often require a great deal of time and emotional support to work through their own feelings related to the divorce. The following are several tips to help make this transitional period easier for your child.

Tips to Help Children Through Divorce:

Allow the Children to Be Neutral

Often, the children of divorced parents feel as though they have to pick a side. Which parent do they love more? Which parent is in the right? Which is in the wrong? These questions can add unnecessary turmoil to a child’s life. It is so important for both parents to make an effort to keep the children neutral and help them avoid unnecessary turmoil. Divorced parents should not speak badly of each other in front of their children for any reason.

Avoid Placing Blame

During a divorce, it is often easy to point fingers for who is to blame. However, the blame game often leaves children even more confused and heartbroken than simply believing it didn’t work out between their parents. Both parents should be mindful of this and refrain from blaming their spouse. Furthermore, many children often transfer this sense of blame onto themselves and feel personally responsible for the divorce. A parent should never make a child feel at fault for the divorce. Instead, this should be a time of moving forward and instilling a positive outlook for the future. A positive outlook can help to promote the healing process and help children overcome any negative emotions related to the divorce.

Be Flexible

As children grow up, they will want and> need to spend time with both parents. In a divorce, this can be especially challenging and children often struggle with this aspect the most. In most cases, the child can no longer see both parents on a (nearly) daily basis as they used to. This is a huge obstacle for children to adapt to, and if visitation is not handled properly it can cause problems for children. Unless there is a valid reason to limit visitation rights (such as abuse), both parents should be flexible in their schedule and allow the child to spend quality time with each parent. Furthermore, for special occasions (e.g. the child’s birthday) parents should make a considerable effort to be accommodating so that both parents can share in these moments. Even if the parents cannot or will not be present together, it is important for both parents to make these moments special, separately.