Helping Kids Through Divorce
With divorce rates so high, I think it’s important to remember how this huge change can impact families with children, as well as, how you as parents can put aside your differences to help your kids through it.
Be Sensitive: No matter what the situation, you’ll need to be extra sensitive when breaking the news of divorce to your children. Speak calmly and remember you’re talking to a child whose life is about to be turned upside down – as far as they know.
Remember You’re a Parent: Make a point to explain to your child that you love being their parent and that no matter what is going on between you and their mom that your feelings of love toward your children are not going to change.
Give Them a Chance to Speak: Your child might be angry at first, but after several days – or weeks – they’ll be ready to talk. When they’re ready allow them to ask questions, to voice their sadness and concern and just listen to them, showing comfort in whatever stability remains.
Keep Hostility at Bay: Many divorces come with their fair share of hostility and anger. Do your very best to keep that out of your house and away from your children – as difficult as that may be. It’s not going to help your child to witness you and your wife screaming and squabbling over every last item you’ve shared together.
Find Support: Finding support for both the parents and the children is extremely important. If your child is having a difficult time with the news encourage them to talk to a counselor, a teacher or a friend who has witnessed divorce already. Additionally, the huge life change can be difficult for the parents, too. I suggest seeking out a therapist, friend or family member to talk to if you need a bit of extra support yourself.
Divorce can be very difficult, but it doesn’t mean your child’s changing life will have to be horrible or difficult. Fall back on routine and remember to express your love to your children as often as possible.
Daddy Nickell, father of 7, is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com and the Daddyscrubs parenting blog.