When going through a divorce, children will go through a grieving process because they are mourning the loss of their concept of what their life was. You will notice them going through so many different emotions just trying to make sense of it all. Experiencing and sorting through all of these emotions are normal and your child will begin to heal. You can make it easier on them by following the tips listed below for helping your child cope with the decision of divorce.
Give Them Validation
Now, more than ever, your children want to feel like their feelings are legitimate. Never tell your children that what they are thinking or feeling is wrong. When you start to notice the emotional well-being of you child start to slide, let your child know that it is okay to feel sad or to feel lonely that the other parent isn't there. Once you offer them validation for how they are feeling, it will be easier for your children to come to you when they are upset about the situation.
Help Them Communicate
Going through a divorce will introduce your children to emotions they may have never experienced before, so they might not know exactly how they feel or what they are feeling. It is important to help your child work through these emotions and to help them put their feelings into words. As a parent, your children give you clues to how they are feeling through body language. Use these clues to talk to your child. If it seems that they are sad, let them know that you see they are feeling down and ask them why.
While helping them communicate their feelings, it is imperative that you also listen. Active listening is essential to your children at this point in their life because it gives them someone to trust and someone they can confide in. What they tell you may hurt your feelings, but it is important that you listen to help, not to react.
Keep Them Out of the Details
Whatever the reasons are behind your divorce, your children don't need to be privy to this information. In a situation as delicate as this, it can be easy to point the finger and place blame, especially when feelings are hurt. Venting your frustrations is normal for you to do, but not to your children. Involving your children in a messy situation will only make it more stressful on them. Instead, find a trusted friend to vent to. Take extra precautions to ensure your children don't hear you when you are discussing the details of the divorce. When you are in front of your children, be as civil as possible with your ex. The civility that you two express at this time will let your children know that they don't have to choose sides and that they can be happy on either side.
Children go through so much when parents are going through a divorce. The idea they had of a normal family is now upside down and it is hard for them to sort through the emotions that come with it. By following the tips listed above, you will be able to help your child cope with this delicate situation, making the transition easier on them and on you. Consult a divorce attorney through a firm like Blumenauer Hackworth for more information.