Helping Children Deal with Divorce
As hard as divorce is on adults, it can be even worse for kids. When parents divorce, kids often feel stressed, confused, scared, and angry. Younger kids, especially, have a hard time understanding what is going on. Kids may act out in different ways, including being physically aggressive and angry, unusually quiet and withdrawn, extra sensitive and tearful, or possibly obsessive about the things they CAN control, like their clothing and how their room is organized. Luckily, there are steps that parents can take to help reassure their children and help put the children’s minds at ease.
Communication with your child is key, as well as facilitating ongoing communication. Be prepared to answer your child’s inevitable questions. Check in with your child regularly about how they are feeling. If the child is with the other parent, take advantage of technology like FaceTime to “see” your child when you can’t be there. Proactively provide information to your child about when they will be with each parent, and for how long, so the child knows what to expect. If a relocation is necessary, try to be patient and understanding if your child acts out. It is hard to leave behind friends, school, sports, music, and other activities they are used to.
No matter how well parents handle their divorce, children are still bound to have some strong reactions. Give it time and try to be patient. The whole family is experiencing a big change. It will take time for everyone to adapt.
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