When going through a divorce, it’s often the children that are left the most hurt and upset the most. It’s difficult for them to have any perspective or reasoning, primarily because they are still naïve and innocent. For them, their parents divorcing feels like the end of the world. As one of their guardians, it is essential that you are there to provide them with the adequate support and guidance they will need over the ensuing weeks, months, and even years. If you’re worried about your child(ren), consider using some of the advice below:
Break the news respectfully
While it might seem easier to skip over the more important details (especially if the child is young), you must inform them about what is happening. A lot of children will blame themselves for what is happening, and as their parent, it is your responsibility to affirm that it isn’t. Give them an overview as to what is going to happen and which things are and, more importantly, aren’t going to change.
Please encourage them to be open
Handling your children’s reaction can be the most challenging part of this whole process. Will they lash out in anger? Fear? Sadness? It can be almost impossible to know precisely how they will respond and cope. Please encourage them to speak openly about how they feel, while also legitimizing their feelings. What does this mean? It means making sure they know that their opinions are valid and healthy, no matter how strange they might be. Some kids might be happy or relieved, especially if their home life is terrible (full of fighting and arguing).
Helping them adjust
Once the living situation has changed definitively, you must help your children adjust to their new circumstances. Forget about what you want and make sure your decisions are cognisant of what your children need. Minimize disruptions to their schedule and try to make the adjustments as seamless as possible. For example, ensuring that they have a private space in both guardians’ homes is incredibly important.