Divorce affects every family differently, and it affects every kid differently as well. No parent wants to see their children suffer. But wise parents also know that divorce is tough, and your children will face some tough emotions because of it.
Here’s how to help kids learn to process their feelings in a healthy way, so that they come through the divorce with resilience, wisdom, and the confidence of knowing their parents are still there for them.
The Negatives, or “What Not to Do”
To support your children’s wellness during a divorce:
- Don’t fight in front of the kids. By “fight,” we mean more than just “argue” – although of course it’s wise not to argue in front of them either. Discussions about conflict-rich topics, finances, and legal discussions should be held away from kids as well.
- Don’t disrupt their routines if you can help it. A child’s sense of stability and safety in the world thrives on routine. If a decision will change your children’s routines, ask, “Is there a way we can do this without changing their routine?” Also, ask “Is there a way to make this into a routine itself – the ‘new normal’?”
- Don’t get negative. Remember the old saying “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?” Make this your rule when you’re near your kids. Save negativity and blame for therapy sessions or conversations with trusted adult friends out of kids’ earshot.
The Positives, or “How to Support Your Kids’ Wellness”
In addition to things not to do, there are a number of things you can do to help your kids. Here are some of our favorites:
- Tell the truth (mostly). If children are old enough to formulate a question, they are old enough to receive an honest answer. However, keep your kids’ personalities and development in mind. Children need the details less than they need to know the situation is not their fault and that you still love them.
- Stay involved. Go to sports matches and school events, even if you don’t particularly want to see your child’s other parent. This will help your kids understand that you still love and support them, no matter how you feel about their other parent.
- Have fun. If kids want to talk about their feelings, listen – but don’t force them to discuss the divorce. Instead, focus on asking about their lives and on having fun with them. Not only will this help them, but it will also help you stay connected and remember that this, too, shall pass.
Divorce doesn’t have to ruin your life, and it doesn’t have to harm your kids. To learn more about how we can help you navigate a divorce smoothly and support your children through the process, talk to us today at (860) 560-8160. We’re here to help.
For more information, check out some of our blog posts on this topic:
- How to Develop a Great Parenting Plan
- Divorce and Your Kids: 6 Tips to Help Minimize Their Stress
- Be the Best Divorced Parents You Can Be: 8 Tips for Effective Co-Parenting
- Telling the Children About Divorce, and How Collaboration and Mediation May Help
- Five Things to Consider When Selecting Your Kids’ Guardians
- How to Help Your Children (and Yourself!) Deal with Divorce and the Holidays
- Halloween an Opportunity for Divorcing Parents to Create the “New Normal”
- Special Needs Trusts Are Not Only For Wealthy Families
- Supplemental Needs Trusts for Special Family Members