Here are a few tips on how to guide your children through your family's tough divorce.
Prioritize Honesty and Love
When parents divorce, it is common for the children to feel like their whole world is crashing down around them. Children often think it was something they did to cause the split. In order to combat those feelings, parents need to reassure their children that they are still loved by both parents. Continuing to show them they are loved will help them through even the most drawn-out divorce.
Being honest with your children about the divorce will strengthen their sense of stability and help them understand what is going on. You do not need to tell them the exact reason for the divorce, but you can explain the process so they have an idea of what to expect. By providing them with a guide and expectations, you can help ease them into their new life of splitting time between parents.
Maintain a Routine Despite Changes In the Family
As people understand more how children thrive on routines, many divorcing parents are alternating their nights in the family home instead of shuttling children between homes. Since most family homes now cost almost $200,000 for 1,800 square feet to spread out between three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, there is plenty of room for parents to have space away from each other while keeping the home for the children. It's not just about the home; by continuing to have both parents attend the activities, the children will still feel supported by their parents even during your divorce.
Provide Support for Your Children
It is important for you to let your children express their feelings about what is happening. Reassure them that their feelings are valid and offer to help find ways to feel better. Since most states, like Kansas, have a mandatory 60-day waiting period upon filing for divorce, you can focus that time on your children. Use that time to find creative outlets for your children, or contact a child therapist who works with children of divorce. These methods can show your children that their needs are a priority even while you go through the difficulty of a divorce.
Ensure Everyone Is Maintaining Their Health
A stressful situation such as divorce can be stressful on both the body and the mind. Therefore, it's important to focus on both the physical and mental health of everyone in your family. Children should continue to attend school and see their regular pediatrician and dentist. Since the stress of a divorce can increase teeth grinding, it is important for your children to keep up with proper dental care. By staying up to date on dental care, you may be able to prevent your child from being one of the nearly four million Americans wearing braces.
It's also important for the parents to remain healthy. Make sure both parties are practicing self-care so that your children can see that everything will be okay in the end.
During your divorce, you and your co-parent must keep your children's best interests in mind. Parent your children together so they feel loved, safe, healthy, and supported during this difficult time.
Devin is a writer and an avid reader. When she isn't lost in a book or writing, she's busy in the kitchen trying to perfect her slow cooker recipes. You can find her poetry published in The Adirondack Review and Cartridge Lit.