Helping Your Child Through a Divorce

Divorce is a difficult time for adults, but for children, it’s much harder. When it happens, it changes their entire lives, including their family and living conditions. It also challenges their ability to trust in the stability and reliability of their parents’ support. When children are particularly young, it’s very easy for them to misinterpret that reason for the divorce and exaggerate how it’s going to affect them.

They are likely to experience a range of different emotions, including confusion, anger, shame, embarrassment, and outrage. They may also become very afraid, withdrawn, anxious, or clingy. Divorce affects children in different ways, but it leaves a mark on most of them.

If you’re going through a divorce, doing what you can to minimize the impact is very important. Below are some tips to help you help your children cope.

Tell Them It’s Not Their Fault

Children very often think that they are the reason their parents are getting divorced. This is because children tend to be very self-centered and believe the world revolves around them. Both parents should make it very clear to their children that the decision to divorce is not because of something they have or haven’t done. Reassure them that both of you still love them dearly and you’ll always love them and protect them after the divorce. You may have to repeat these sentiments over and over again before they’re accepted.

Maintain Consistent Routines

You can help shield your children from the trauma of divorce by keeping your children’s living arrangement and routines the same. It is a way of keeping their trust and helping them feel secure, safe, and protected. If possible, this means staying in the house they’ve always lived in, going to the same school, and sticking to the same routines. Sometimes change is unavoidable, but there are ways you can provide continuity.

Keep Boundaries

If you keep parental and child/parent boundaries, you’ll be able to parent in a more coordinated and effective manner. The parenting boundary can be preserved by staying calm and avoiding arguments in front of the children. Don’t use your children to pass messages between you and your ex and most definitely never ask them to spy on the other parent. Never put your children in a situation where they must side with one or other of you. It can be very tempting to confide in your children; after all, you might not have anyone else to talk to. They’re probably not mature enough to handle such a role, and it can easily overload them, leaving them feeling anxious, angry, or depressed.

If you haven’t got any friends or family to talk to, there are plenty of professionals who can provide support. When it comes to support for any legal issues, you should contact an attorney, lawyer, or solicitor who specializes in divorce and family law, for example, a Bristol divorce solicitor.

Encourage Them to Talk

It’s possible to help your children work through their negative reactions by encouraging them to express and talk about them in appropriate ways. Children express their feelings in a different way. Some prefer to talk about them while others are more comfortable acting them out. When they’re ready to talk to you, show them respect and listen to what they’ve got to say. If their adjustment is proving particularly difficult, you should consider taking them to family therapy with a qualified therapist.

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