5 Ways To Help Your Children When You Are Separating
Divorce is hard on everyone involved, and while it can be easy to focus on the hardships of the parents if you have kids, they will need some support, too.
Divorce is hard on kids of all ages, and when it comes to statistics, as many as 70% of children who have had their parents separate wish they had had more compassion and care in this difficult period.
So, here are five ways that you can help your children cope when you are divorcing from your former partner.
When you have been sitting with divorce and family lawyers, such as Grant Stephens Family Law, all day, you may not want to answer any more questions. However, your kids may have a few to ask you, and it is your job to answer them.
Make sure that they can understand what you are saying to them; speak on their level, and don’t get angry if they ask pointed questions.
Co-parenting is very hard for most couples as, in a standard relationship without kids, you rarely have to see your ex again, so old wounds don’t get picked at.
Co-parenting is important for consistency for your kids. If their mother doesn’t want them playing out past a certain time when they are at your house, you need to adhere to that. If their dad doesn’t want them cycling without wearing a helmet, you should make sure that they wear a helmet when under your care. If you disagree on any rules, talk to your co-parent about potentially changing them, but don’t discard the rules altogether.
If your kid has a play that they will be performing in, go to it. If they want you to go to their ballet recital, go to it. This will help them to see that, even though you are separating from their other parent, you aren’t going anywhere and that you will still be in their lives. This will also help them to feel less anxious about the separation and may even help them to open up more to you about how they are feeling.
Limit Negative Talk
Some parents really struggle with this, especially if the separation has been caused by infidelity or abuse.
You need to minimize negative talk about the other parent. In some cases, this can be hard, and you yourself may need to seek talk therapies to help you cope.
However, bad-mouthing your former spouse to your child(ren) is not helpful and can cause them to feel scared, confused, and like they cannot talk to you. It goes without saying, but you should also aim not to argue with your former spouse in front of any kids you have. This can be psychologically damaging for them and, in the worst-case scenario, can be used against you in the upcoming divorce.
Help Them Express Themselves
Children are more emotive than adults. In many ways, they do not have the experience of handling emotions with the same zeal that teenagers and adults do. So, rather than talk through their emotions, they act on them.
So, as their parent, you should aim to talk to them about the divorce and help them to understand that this isn’t their fault. If you have concerns about their mental health, or you feel that they are not expressing themselves, it may be best to get them into therapy with a child psychologist.