Divorce takes a lot out of one and is utterly unpleasant. Children are the actual casualties of divorces. It is not only the couple that has to endure the divorce but the kids as well. The impact of divorce on kids can at times be felt a long time afterwards. If the divorce is not handled well, the effects of the divorce can be felt way into adulthood. What then can a parent do to help their child deal with divorce if the decision to have is final?
The first thing you must do is to listen. Listen to your child to ensure that your child knows that their opinion matters and that they are not insignificant. Maintain a healthy relationship with your child as this will help them open up about the divorce along the way and you can work it all out together.
It is also important to break the news of the divorce to your child in person. This has to be done by both parents at the same time. Practice this discussion beforehand so that by the time you are doing this, you shall have worked out how to do so without bringing in feelings of anger, resentment, hurt and blame. 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.
You should know that kids are different and they react very differently. You should be ready for this and know how to help them and handle the reactions. You should let them know that it is okay for them to be upset and let them know that you care about how they feel. You will find that not all kids react immediately and they might act like everything is okay. Some of them are afraid to feel sad and don’t know how to handle all the feelings or they just want to please you. Give them time and let them know that when they are ready, you are there for them.
After the initial reaction, you should help them cope with reality. Don’t take away their right to hope that things will be back to normal and mom and dad will be back together. It is normal for them to miss their family and all their hopes and dreams as a family. 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.