Divorce takes a lot out of one and is utterly unpleasant. In real sense though, the children are the casualties of any divorce. Children have to undergo the divorce as well and not just the concerned couple. The stress that kids undergo during this time is felt for a long time afterward. If the divorce is not handled well, the effects of the divorce can be felt way into adulthood. If the decision to have a divorce is final, what then can a parent do to help the child deal with divorce?
Listening needs to be the first thing you do. Listen to your child to ensure that your child knows that their opinion matters and that they are not insignificant. Ensure you have maintained a healthy relationship with your kids and they will keep you posted on their feelings along the way which you can work out together.
It is also important to break the news of the divorce to your child in person. Having both parents present this is very important. Discuss the discussion between the two of you before taking it to your child as this will ensure all feelings of hurt, anger, and blame are kept out of the discussion. Understand what co-parenting is and what it entails beforehand including the child support guidelines that are in place. Respond to their questions as this will help your child understand more about what is to happen.
The kids will definitely react and in different times and ways. Knowing this, you should be ready to help them through it and understand how they react. Tell them that you care about how they feel and it is okay that it is okay for them to be upset. You will find that not all kids react immediately and they might act like everything is okay. This is an attempt to please you as the parent or as they avoid to feel the difficult feelings of sadness and hurt. Don’t try hurry them at all but be patient and allow them to come when they are ready.
Well, when they first react, they need to be able to cope with reality. It is normal for them to hope that things would go differently and their parents would be back together in no time. They miss the kind of family they were used to and hoped for. It is important to let them know that it is okay for them to hope but don’t give them false promises. It is important that you tell the truth of the matter but help them cope with it.