3 Things You Can Do to Help Your Child Cope With Your Divorce
Are you and your partner ready to separate? Have you made the decision to end your relationship? Do you have children together? While you’re likely on top of the paperwork involved, as well as the financial side of divorce, it’s also important that you take the time to help your child as you move forward with the divorce process. Your divorce will greatly affect your child, which makes it vital that you take the time to talk with them about how the experience will affect them. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Talk with them honestly
Don’t lie to your child about your divorce. Hiding your divorce can actually be incredibly harmful when it comes to helping your child deal with the changes that are about to take place in your family. While some parents want to spare their child from the harmful effects of divorce, the truth is that talking with your child throughout the process is actually quite helpful. If possible, sit down with your spouse and have a talk with your child. Let them know that both you and your partner will love your child no matter what. Explain that although your relationship is ending, the two of you will still put your child first. Take the time to answer your child’s questions about the changes that will take place and if you aren’t able to answer a specific question, just be honest. Avoid lying to your child and instead, let them know what they can expect in the weeks and months to come.
2. Express yourself carefully
Dealing with your divorce can be hard, which makes it incredibly important to be careful when you speak. Make sure you choose your words carefully. When you’re feeling emotional, you may find it difficult to remain calm when you talk with your child about the divorce, so make sure you take a deep breath before you say anything. Avoid saying anything negative about your spouse. You may be feeling a variety of emotions during this time, but it’s important that both you and your partner focus on your child and not on bad-mouthing each other. Even if your partner has betrayed you or hurt you very deeply, focus on speaking as positively and honestly as possible when you talk with your child.
3. Aim to keep their life steady
Your child is going to experience many new things during the divorce. They may move to a new home. They might go to a new school. Your child could even join new clubs or make new friends. They’ll also find that their time will be divided between two homes. Wherever possible, try to help your child’s life stay the same. For example, if you and your child always have lunch on Wednesdays, try to keep this tradition. If you enjoy reading stories together before bed, try to make this a continual part of your routine, even if it means reading a story over the phone. Your child’s life will be in flux, but there are many things you can do to keep your child’s schedule and lifestyle as similar as possible.
No matter what caused you and your partner to choose to end your relationship, remember that it is not your child’s fault. Your little one may be feeling confused, angry, sad, or relieved. They might even feel all of these emotions at once. Try to focus on helping your child get through the divorce one day at a time. You’ll be surprised at how a little bit of thoughtfulness can go a long way.