Helping Kids Cope with Divorce
As upsetting as your divorce may be for you and your spouse, your children may be taking it even harder. Kids often have a tough time when their parents divorce — they are dealing with significant changes to their lives, possibly seeing their parents in states of emotional and financial vulnerability, and feeling helpless. So how can you support your kids during such a difficult time?
Being a good parent should be your chief focus. Studies show that children of divorce are more likely to experience emotional, social and even academic setbacks. If you are going through a separation or divorce in Nashville, you can concentrate on your children’s well-being and mitigate some of these effects by taking the following steps:
- Communicate — Be straightforward with your kids. Explain the divorce to them early on, in a way that is accessible and age-appropriate. Recognize any feelings of anger, sadness or disbelief — but reassure them that things are going to improve in the future. Perhaps most important, communicate clearly to your children that they are in no way at fault for the divorce and that there is nothing they could have done to keep the marriage intact.
- Exclude them from disputes — While honesty is important when it comes to helping your kids accept the divorce and preparing them for the road ahead, involving them in the conflict between you and your spouse can be extremely damaging. It’s easy to get caught up in emotions, but leave your children out of contentious disputes with your ex and try to remain civil to each other, at least in their presence.
- Maintain stability — Even though divorce can bring on significant changes initially, it’s vital to help your children maintain familiar, comforting routines. Keep them enrolled in their regular activities, such as sports. Once your custody arrangement is in place, try to stick to it, but make sure your kids understand that you are accessible to them even when you are not physically present, whether by phone, email or another form of communication if they need you.