Divorces are definitely not pleasant and can drain one in more ways than one. In real sense though, the children are the casualties of any divorce. The innocent kids also have to endure the pain of a divorce. Kids also feel that stress and the impact of it all can last a really long time. If the divorce is not handled well, the effects of the divorce can be felt way into adulthood. If the decision to have a divorce is final, what then can a parent do to help the child deal with divorce?
Listening needs to be the first thing you do. 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. Having both parents present this is very important. Discuss the discussion between the two of you before taking it to your child as this will ensure all feelings of hurt, anger, and blame are kept out of the discussion. Find out what is co-parenting and all that it entails not excluding the child support guidelines. Answer the questions smartly and help your child understand what is happening.
Kids will have to react but not all at the same time and you should acknowledge this. 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. Not all kids will react as soon as the divorce is finalized but they might hold to their feelings a little bit longer. This is an attempt to please you as the parent or as they avoid to feel the difficult feelings of sadness and hurt. Don’t try hurry them at all but be patient and allow them to come when they are ready.
It will come a time when they need to cope with their reality and it will not be easy. 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. Don’t make any promises to make them feel better but let them know that it is perfectly okay for them to hope. Encourage them and let them know what your plans are so that they won’t have false hope.