Divorce can turn family life upside down and replace stability with uncertainty. This reality can be especially difficult for children.
Parents who prepare to help their children through this transition may be able to minimize the negative impacts of their divorce on their children.
Prepare for emotions
Parents should expect their children to feel emotional. Depending on the ages of the children, their maturity and their relationship with each of their parents, they could react differently to the news of their parents’ divorce. According to The Mayo Clinic, many children face concerns about relocation and the availability of both of their parents.
If ignored, children may begin developing behavioral problems and acting out as a way to cope. Experts recommend therapy as a resource to help children process and manage their emotions. With adequate support children can learn how to navigate complex feelings in ways that will not threaten their health and well-being.
Plan to listen
Even though many parents are already exhausted after dealing with divorce, they should make time to listen to their children. According to Psychology Today, parents who listen can facilitate trust and help their children continue to strengthen meaningful relationships. As parents talk about their divorce with their children, they should refrain from speaking negatively about the other parent.
Children will most likely have questions about divorce. There are plentiful resources to help parents assess the most appropriate response to difficult questions depending on a child’s level of understanding. Parents who show their care and concern by responding to their children’s concerns can encourage healing and help their children to move forward with life.