When a marriage breaks down and the relationship between two people becomes separate, this can take a toll on everyone involved – from accepting what’s been lost between each other, to having to accept that each wants different things.
This can be especially hard if you have had children during your marriage, as often one’s mind can be caught up in legal and formal dealings, and the perspective of children can often be lost.
It is wise, as a parent, to put yourself in their position and see what the toll takes on them, as difficult as it can seem.
So the question is, how does one go through supporting children through the divorce process?
When dealing with the legal process of divorce, taking into consideration the custody arrangement of your children is important.
That said, think of your children and try not to have your feelings regarding the separation cloud your judgment during this decision.
This can be helped by using a divorce lawyer as an objective third party, who can help you reach an amicable arrangement, which may include joint custody.
It is good to explain the situation to your children, in terms they understand (depending on age) and how it will work, such as a common routine.
Validate Your Child’s Feelings
When it comes to the emotional toll of divorce, often children can get lost in thinking if they did something wrong or they may think why a change is coming on so suddenly.
As a result, they may feel as if they aren’t heard. They may be confused, feel sad, or angry. This may cause them to become upset or lash out.
They could want to attempt to repair the situation, even when they don’t know how.
When involving or discussing the matter with your children, respect the feelings they are having and take them seriously.
Use Age-Appropriate Explanations
When it comes to separation and divorce, certain things can be picked up on by children, often without one noticing. If you digress from the situation, they can feel left out.
It is a difficult topic to breach, however, communication with your ex-partner on when and how your children are told is best.
The level of detail can differ, depending on the age of your children and their understanding.
Nevertheless, the best thing is to prepare yourself that there will be tough questions, and be honest with them.
Admit to them that you may not have everything planned out immediately or know all the answers.
Assure Them That They are Loved by Both Parents
When faced with the concept and prospect of divorce and not living in one household anymore, sometimes children can feel as if the break-up is a reflection on them.
It is also best to not direct any negative feelings towards your partner in front of your kids during this time, as it can give the feeling of having to side with a particular parent.
Upon talking about the topic with your child or children, inform them that they are not to blame for the situation and that, while you have fallen out of love with the other parent, it doesn’t change your, or the other parent’s love for them.
Therefore, when it comes to guiding children through the complicated and emotional circumstances of separation and divorce, remember to:
- Check-in with their feelings and listen to them.
- Develop a routine that can keep them grounded and stable.
- Decide on the amount of detail and understand that there may be tough questions and you may not have answers.
Most of all, remind them that they have a family that loves them, even if it is a different sort of family structure.