Preparing the Kids for Divorce
When mom and dad make the decision to divorce, and saying ‘I do’ is no longer an option, how do you tell the kids?
Divorce for children at any age evokes feelings of sadness, stress and even confusion. It’s a subject that leaves them uncertain at the idea of mom and dad splitting up.
As a parent it is your job to make the process of divorce as smooth as possible. Talk to your children and make them priority during this process to help them cope with divorce, and ensure that they grow up to be emotionally stable, positive adults.
Here are some other ways to help your kids adjust:
- Create routines and try not to change them. If your children know they can rely on their parents it gives them a sense of stability and structure.
- Try to maintain a respectful, working relationship with your spouse or ex. Avoid blaming one another, and show a good line of communication to help avoid the stress kids experience when watching parents in conflict.
- Think of what you want to say and how to say it up front. Give your children honesty, in a kid-friendly way.
- Acknowledge your children’s feelings, listen and encourage them to find words to share their feelings.
- Clear up any misunderstandings such as the belief that they are the reason for the divorce. Explain the real reason for your divorce and reassure them that they are not responsible.
- Give your children physical contact (i.e. hugs, shoulder pats) and verbal praises to show your love.
“If things get worse rather than better after several months, it may be a sign that your child is stuck in depression, anxiety, or anger and could use some additional support. Discuss these or other divorce-related warning-signs with your child’s doctor, teachers, or consult a child therapist for guidance on coping with specific problems (Children and Divorce, para. 19).”
Written By: Jamacia Magee, Rust Built, Marketing Services
Kemp M.A., G., Segal, Ph.D., J. and Smith M.A., M. (Updated 2013 December). Children & Divorce Helping Kids Cope with Separation and Divorce. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/children_divorce.htm.