Divorce is hard on the entire family. The parents are not the only ones who suffer during the process. Children have a hard time with family change as well. Children are best able to cope with divorce when their parents are attentive to what they need. Parents should work together to ensure that both are active participant’s in their life. You have the opportunity to set the stage for how your children will deal with the process from the moment you tell your children you are getting divorce on. It doesn’t matter what stage of the process you are in; the following tips will help you help your children through the process.
The most important thing that you can do for your kids is to provide them with the physical and emotional support they need. You should be someone your kids can trust and can come talk to. Make sure that you are honest when you respond to their questions, but be careful not to give them details that are either inappropriate or your children are not capable of handling at the moment. Make an agreement with the other parent that both of you will not say anything negative about the other parent. Even if the other parent breaks this agreement, children are smart and they will realize you are not the one talking negatively about the other parent.
You need to make sure that your children are allowed to express their feelings about the divorce. They may be reluctant at first, and you should not take this personally at all. This could be because they are afraid of upsetting or hurting you more than you are already hurt. Instead of getting upset, comfort your children, have an open mind, and reassure them that you are there and that they can come to you with any questions or concerns they may have. You also have to remember each of your children is different, and it will take each a different amount of time to process what is happening. You should also be patient, because each child will handle the divorce in a different way.
Even though your children are going through a hard time, and it’s tough to be strict when something this drastic is happening, you cannot stop parenting. Make sure that expectations, boundaries, and discipline remains in place. You need to make sure that you are consistent in your parenting techniques, because this will tell your children that their parents can handle these changes. You need to make sure that you work with the other parent and co-parent your children. You have to put your differences aside, realize it’s going to take time to set aside your differences and establish a co-parenting relationship that works, and keep your children always at the top of your importance list. When co-parenting is done correctly, it can ease children’s anxiety as every other aspect of their life is beginning to change.
Finally, make sure you have a support network in place. You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of your children. You need to process and deal with your emotions so that you can handle your children’s emotions. Even if you just need to find a sitter every now and then to go out with a friend for lunch, you need this time to process. If you can cope well, you will be better able to assist your children. This means that they will cope better as well.
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