Divorce is a stressful time for everyone in a family. Children, unfortunately, are almost always affected the hardest.
Different children react in different ways to stressful situations. One child may not seem effected at all by his parents divorce, for example, while his sibling may seem devastated and inconsolable. Regardless of how your children are reacting to your divorce, there are a few things that you can do to make this major life change less stressful for them.
Tell Kids the Truth About Divorce
While going into every nitty gritty detail of the separation and divorce usually isn’t advised, kids still deserve to know the truth about why their parents are getting divorce. Of course, the amount of information that you choose to divulge should be dependent upon the maturity level of each child.
Younger children may not need all of the details of the divorce, and any information about infidelity should be kept mum. Instead, you may want to explain to younger children that mommy and daddy won’t live together anymore, but they will still get to spend time with both of you. Older children, on the other hand, may be more perceptive than you may realize, and you may be able to be a little more forthcoming.
Reassure Kids That They Are Still Loved
Whether or not you and your spouse still love each other is basically a moot point during a divorce, particularly when children are involved. Some children may, especially younger children, may come to think that because they aren’t living with one parent anymore, then that parent may not love them. In these types of situations, it is imperative that children realize that both parents still love them as much as they did before.
Stick to a Routine
You may find that following a strict routine to be rather difficult during a divorce, especially at the beginning. By maintaining prior routines and establishing new ones, however, you can help make the divorce process much easier on your children. For example, the non-custodial parent should have a set visitation schedule, which should be explained to and discussed with the children. Knowing exactly when they will see each parent can help ease some of the anxiety that children feel during divorce.
No Fighting or Bad Mouthing
Adults going through a divorce will often end up saying mean or otherwise unpleasant things to one another at some point. Despite their feelings for each other, however, parents should take measures to ensure that they don’t fight in front of their children. Fighting can make a child feel helpless, scared, and frustrated. If you and your spouse must fight, do so away from your children.
A parent should also make sure that he or she doesn’t speak negatively about the other parents. This can be very upsetting for children of any age. Some children may even start to believe the negative things that one parent says about another, regardless of whether or not it’s true.