Divorce is not easy for anyone involved in it, even if – as is usually the case – it’s the right thing to do. However, for the adults who are actually getting divorced, at least they can see the reasons behind it and understand the process.
It is potentially more difficult for children as they won’t know what is happening and may not have seen the divorce coming at all. It can be a big shock, and all they know is that the life they lived up until that moment is changing forever.
Therefore it’s important to help your child through the divorce process just as much as it is important to take care of your own needs. With that in mind, here are some things you can do to help.
One of the biggest problems children have during the divorce process is that they feel left out. They don’t understand what is happening and don’t know how it will affect them. This leaves them feeling confused and scared, and often they don’t know who to ask for help.
Solve this problem by ensuring they are involved – as far as is appropriate, of course – in what is happening. Finding good family law solicitors will help with this, as they will explain everything to you, and you can pass on that information in a way your children will understand, and family law solicitors can also help with mediation when children are involved. The more your children know about what is happening, the less scared they will be.
Talk About Emotions
Although the above point is a good suggestion and something you should do, it won’t remove all the negative emotions your child will feel. They might be less confused and afraid but still, be upset and worried. They will still be sad about what is happening to their parents.
Therefore you must allow them to talk about their emotions and express their feelings. This might come in anger, frustration, or tears, or they might even withdraw somewhat. Everyone expresses emotions differently and letting your child do that is important.
However, it’s also important to talk to your child about how they are feeling. Help them through this difficult time by letting them know they’re not alone and explaining how you are feeling too.
Make Sure They Know It’s Not Their Fault
Many children will feel that their parents’ divorce is something they caused. They might think it is down to something bad they did or that they interfered in the relationship in some way. Children won’t usually see the bigger picture, and in their minds, everything links back to them – this is a natural way for them to be, so it makes sense they would feel to blame for divorce in a lot of situations.
You must tell them (and keep telling them) that the divorce has nothing to do with them; they are not the cause of it – it is something between you and the other parent and no one else. At the same time, reinforce the idea that their parents love them very much, and their relationship won’t change, even if they’re no longer living together. This reassurance can go a long way.