Although a divorce can be stressful for parents, it can be even more traumatic for children. During a divorce, children experience a range of emotions that can include sadness, anger and even relief. For many children, a divorce is their first experience with a life-altering event. For this reason, they may lack the knowledge and skills to be able to express their feelings. Additionally, many children feel guilty or will blame themselves for their parent’s separation. Therefore, the following ideas are designed to help any family that is facing divorce to be able to help their child to cope during this stressful time in their life.
1. Be honest – At first, it may be difficult to tell a child that their parents are going to have a divorce. However, children are often the first ones to realize when their parents are struggling. Therefore, parents should sit down with their children, and inform them about the divorce in a calm and honest manner.
2. Avoid sharing too much – While children deserve an honest answer, they do not always need to know about the details of the divorce. If the reason for a divorce will put one or both parents in a negative light, then it is best to simply say that they are unable to work out their differences.
3. Do not place blame – Young children often see the world in terms of either good or bad. Finding out that their parents are divorcing can cause them to wonder who is to blame. Parents who may be hurting at the time may also feel the need to blame the other parent. However, this will only lead to more anger and confusion in the child. Instead, parents should express that they are united in their decision to divorce.
4. Explain changes – Change is inevitable during a divorce. Explain to the child how the divorce will affect them. For example, as soon as it is determined, let the child know about custody and visitation arrangements. If a move is expected, then clearly explain when and where the child will be moving.
5. Keep communication open – One of the best things a parent can do during this time is to be available for their child to express their feelings. By keeping communication open, a child will feel as though they can talk about the things that they are going through. It is also important for parents to listen to their children without judging when they express negative emotions. Instead, they should calmly help their children to find appropriate ways of handling them.
When a child feels the support of both of their parents during a divorce, then they are more likely to emerge from the experience with a positive relationship in place with both of their parents. For this reason, it is best to practice honest and open communication in order to help children to find their place in their new family environment.
About the Author: This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of Liveinnanny.com.She welcomes your comments at her email Id: – jdebra84 @ gmail.com.