Today in our society divorce occurs in about 45% of all marriages. Although you planned on being married until “death do you part” when you made your marriage vows, this is not always the way it works out. Divorce is stressful enough when no kids are involved but even more so when they are. What can you do to help your kids if you are facing divorce?
It is important that you are honest with your children from the beginning. If you are planning to separate, sit down and discuss this with the kids. Do not tell them that Mom is going on a business trip, or that Dad has to go take care of his sick father. The more honest you are with them the better. If you lie they will not listen to anything you have to say after that. They will become anxious and may start having behavioral problems.
No Fault Divorce
Make sure the child understands that it is not their fault. If need be remind them of this often. You should also stay away from blaming each other. Blaming one over the other can make it difficult for the child to maintain their relationship with each parent.
Allow the child to ask as many questions as they have about the divorce and answer them as truthful as possible. Make it clear that they can talk to you and express their feelings. Don’t rush them if they seem like they don’t want to talk. Assure them that they can come and talk to you anytime about the divorce.
Tell them that however they are feeling is OK. Do not indicate that they should feel one way or another; doing this indicates that their feelings aren’t legitimate and they may hesitate to share in the future.
Keep the kids schedule as normal as possible to reassure them that things are going to be OK. There will be enough changing for them.
If you find that you or your kids are having an exceptionally hard time dealing with the divorce seek out professional help. It might also help to talk to your kids about their friends that have divorced parents. This might bring up questions that the children have. Remember that seeking therapy is nothing to be ashamed of and it provides a safe environment for you or your kids to express their feelings.