As an adult, you know that your divorce was coming for a long time. You may even know it’s for the best. You and your spouse have grown apart and are fighting way too much. No one is happy anymore. In many cases, it is better for everyone involved to end a relationship that is causing grief. It’s quite possible that you even initiated the divorce in the first place. These are all adult feelings, though. Your child is probably experiencing the divorce of his or her parents in a very different way than you are living through it. For this reason, knowing how to help your child through a divorce is extremely important. This will have lasting effects on their entire life!
How to Help Your Child Through a Divorce
Family disputes are not healthy for the members involved, especially when children are involved. A few experts tips for helping your child handle the divorce include:
#1 Explain it to them in a straightforward, but age appropriate manner. Explain the divorce to him or her in a simple but concrete way. This isn’t the time for blaming or oversharing. You could say, for example, “Mommy and Daddy fight all the time and it makes us very sad. We’ve decided it would be better for all of us if we live in separate houses.”
#2 Continue to reassure them. Reassure your child that they will always have the love of both parents. Be sure to tell them that the divorce is not their fault. If possible, explain how things will work. You may say, “You will spend every other weekend and Wednesday nights with Daddy. The rest of the time you will be here with Mommy.” Putting up a calendar makes this easier to understand for many kids.
#3 Let them feel their emotions. Emotions are very natural, especially during a time like this. While yours may not be exactly the same, you are certainly feeling some too. You might explain, “It is normal to feel sad and angry. These feelings are hard. When you are scared, angry, or sad, tell me.” Encourage your child to have an on-going and open dialogue with you. Too often, kids keep their feelings inside because they do not want to upset you. If you feel that he or she isn’t sharing, check in with them by asking, “How are you feeling about the divorce?”
For any additional help, from starting the divorce procedure to responding to their filing to fighting for what should rightfully be yours, the divorce attorneys at Ellen Cronin Badeaux are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation and we’ll help you with making the right next steps to move your divorce forward in the best direction for you and your child.