Divorce is one of the most challenging things a family can go through. You’re separating from your spouse, but it also greatly impacts your children. As their parent, you’ll need to be there for them as they navigate this challenging time in their lives. Here are some ways you can help your child coping with your divorce.
Don’t Make Your Child a Messenger
Using your child as a messenger is never a good idea because it can confuse the relationship between parent and child. Children struggle to handle adult issues and problems, so they can become easily confused when asked to be the middleman. This can make them feel alienated and confused about what’s going on in their home life.
Another reason why it’s not good to use children as messengers is that they will feel guilty if they can’t deliver a message accurately or entirely. This can lead them to think that the problem lies within them instead of seeing it as an issue between you and your ex-spouse.
Finally, using children as messengers can create resentment between both parents because they may feel that their child isn’t being treated fairly or appropriately, considering their age and maturity level. It might also give the idea that one parent may be trying to “poison” the child against the other parent, too, which should be avoided.
Communication and Shared Care
Communication is crucial between you and your ex-partner in order to care for your child/children mutually without any animosity. You should be communicating directly with each other without anything descending into arguments, especially regarding childcare and any finances pertaining to that. Note that sorting a dependent care flexible spending account might help make the latter a little simpler.
Ultimately, you may be divorced, but that doesn’t mean you cut contact altogether when you share kids. Putting your child’s well-being and care above others is a priority. You can only do that when you communicate properly (without negativity or attitude) and share the effort, time, and finances required to give your children what they need in life.
Give Your Child Time to Grieve
While it’s normal for children to be sad or angry after a divorce, you shouldn’t pressure them to get over it. Instead, allow your child time to grieve the change in their life – divorce impacts children more than you might think. It’s essentially a loss of their family routine and arrangement, especially if one parent moves out or the child moves out of the home to live elsewhere with the other parent.
Your child may feel at fault for the divorce and might hold onto anger or guilt if they feel responsible for causing it (even if this isn’t true). It’s not uncommon for kids to blame themselves like this. Be sensitive when talking with your child and reassure them that they’re not to blame for the breakup.
Avoid Putting Your Kids in the Middle of Custody Battles
It’s a common strategy for parents to put their children in the middle of custody battles. The truth is that this can hurt your children more than benefit them. When parents are in conflict, they often try to turn their children into pawns. They use the kids as leverage against each other and make them choose sides, leading to confusion, guilt, and stress on the child’s part.
This isn’t healthy for children, especially if they’re very young or have special needs. In fact, it’s never okay to put a child in the middle of parental conflict because it can cause serious emotional damage and long-term trauma that lasts throughout their lives.
When you’re going through a divorce, your children don’t always understand what’s happening. As a result, they may have trouble adjusting to the changes in their family dynamic. Plus, if you’re struggling with your emotions and feelings about the divorce, that may also be confusing for them.
If you’re worried that your children aren’t handling their feelings about your divorce well, consider getting divorce therapy for them. In therapy, they’ll be able to talk through their emotions with a professional who can help them understand what’s happening and give them tools for coping with the huge changes in their lives.
While the negative impact of divorce on children can be difficult to measure, there are several ways you can help your children to cope with this transition. By keeping them informed, giving them as much support as possible, communicating maturely with your ex, and keeping the kids out of any conflict, you can help them through this life-changing transition.