72% of divorces occur during the first 14 years of marriage, making it likely for there to be young children in the equation. From questions about custody and child support to a new day-to-day routine, parenting through a divorce has tricky moments. Helping children cope with divorce is a big responsibility on top of an already chaotic situation.
If you’re struggling to know how to help your kids through this difficult time, keep reading for some suggestions.
Helping Children Cope With Divorce
The below pointers will help your children cope better with divorce.
The number one thing to remember is to keep the lines of communication open with your child.
As hard as it is, make sure they understand what is happening in their life. Keeping them in the dark about the situation is only going to cause confusion, and may make them question whether they are to blame for their other parent leaving.
While it’s not a good idea to tell them all the details, make sure they know the divorce is not their fault and that you will do everything in your power to make their life happy and stable.
2. Be Flexible
This applies to the custody schedule as well as your general attitude through the situation. Make sure you are putting the children’s needs first so that they will be reassured that they are loved. If that means adjusting the schedule, make it work.
Try to be flexible and understanding about your child’s behavior during this time as well. Maintain a balance between enforcing the rules and understanding that outbursts and “bad” attitudes are probably just their way of dealing with their emotions.
3. Encourage Emotions
Being understanding of your child’s emotional life will go a long way. Divorce is a tough transition for children, and they may not know what they are feeling. Helping your child identify their emotions can help them process what is happening in a healthy way.
Another element of this is helping your child find healthy outlets for their emotions. Sometimes, watching a sad movie and crying is enough to get the tears out. Other children may be angry about what is happening. Try letting them join a new sport to get some of their aggression out.
4. Let People Help
You want to use all the resources available to you, and some of those resources are the other adults in your child’s life. Speak to teachers, coaches, and grandparents about what they can do to help your child through this transition.
If your child is having a hard time adjusting, there is nothing wrong with getting some professional assistance. Therapy for yourself as well as your children can provide some guidance on how to talk about what’s going on.
5. Cooperate With Your Ex
In some cases, working with your ex will not be possible, especially if there are serious underlying issues such as abuse. However, in those cases, you can still work hard to keep a sense of calm for your children. Never argue with your ex in front of your kids.
If possible, work with your ex-partner to help the children adjust. You can sit down together as a family to talk so that the kids can see you working together. You can cooperate with each other about what you are going to tell the kids so that they aren’t getting mixed messages.
Returning to a New Normal
Helping children cope with divorce is something that may feel overwhelming at first. Hopefully, these suggestions have put you on the right track to help your family adjust.
Be sure to contact us with any questions about your family’s legal situation and we can help clear up any other uncertainties you may have.