With divorce rates skyrocketing today, it isn’t a shock that your children are going to be put in a difficult situation. They were used to having two parents around them on a daily basis. Now, they are forced to face the reality that there is only going to be one parent there throughout the day. They have to wonder when they are going to see the other parent. It can be both confusing and frustrating for children.
Thousands of children go through the experience and stress associated with a divorce every year. The manner in which they are going to react is largely dependent upon their personality, age and the circumstances surrounding the separation and divorce. Every divorce is going to affect the children. Often times, the initial reaction is one of sadness, frustration, shock, worry or anger. To help your children get through the tough situation, try following some of the steps outlined below.
1. Let Your Child Know That They are Loved
Whenever there is one of the parents that doesn’t uphold their promises on a regular basis, the children tend to blame themselves. They think it is their fault that the other parent didn’t show up to get them. In their minds, it was the way they behaved, or they weren’t fun enough to be around. If they could only change themselves, the other parent would come around them more. You want to make sure and let the child know that it has nothing to do with them as to why the other parent isn’t around. Make sure they know how much they are loved.
2. Don’t Try and Make Excuses About the Situation
If you are continually making excuses for the other party, you are preventing your child from being able to express their feelings properly. For example, if the other party called off their time with the child because of a cold, yet they still went to work with that cold, you want your child to be able to express how they feel. Allow your children the time they need to vent without apologizing or criticizing the other party.
3. Encourage Communication
Children ages 10 and older can talk to their other parent about what they are feeling when the other party doesn’t show up to pick them up. Being able to express their feelings provides children with a sense of power to help eliminate their frustration. Regardless of whether something changes or not, your child will feel a sense of relief in knowing that they tried to make the situation better.
Discuss how they can voice their disappointment without having to be angry and lash out about it.
Saying things like “I don’t like it when everyone else gets to have their mom and dad at the games, but mine aren’t always there.” or something as simple as “I miss you.” If your children aren’t comfortable discussing what seems to be bothering them, have them send an e-mail or a letter to the other parent.
4. Don’t Talk Bad About Your Ex
All too often, parents end up talking badly about their ex. Due to their own frustrations and anger toward the other person, they end up letting it come out with the children. No matter how hard it might be, you have to learn how to keep your emotions and feelings to yourself when it comes to the other person.
Make sure the children don’t know what is going on between the two of you. Find a friend you can talk to about your frustrations; just make sure to leave the children out of the loop. They need to come to their own conclusions and form their own feelings about the other parent.
5. Try and Keep the Routine Consistent in the Home
When children go through something as difficult as a divorce, they need to have as much stability as possible in their lives. Don’t go out and make a bunch of changes in their lives. They are already dealing with enough change. They don’t need more.
The best thing you can do is to keep your normal family routine in-tact to the best of your ability. If children normally participate in sports, make sure they stay participating in sports. Don’t uproot all of those things that they have come to know and understand. Dealing with a divorce is hard enough as it is.
6. Avoid Quizzing the Children
When your children come home from a visit with your ex, don’t spend hours trying to quiz them about what happened or what the other parent is doing in their home. You can ask general questions about how their visit was, but don’t try to pry into everything going on around the home. If the kids come out and tell you about things, that’s one thing. Children don’t want to play 50 questions about the other parent. Leave it be, regardless of how much information you might want to know.
Since you might have years of co-parenting on the forefront, you need to learn how to get along amicably with your ex now. In doing so, you are going to provide your child with the absolute best gift possible. Getting along with your ex will help your child to cope with the ramifications of your getting a divorce.
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