Divorce is difficult on everyone involved, but more so for children whose lives are turned upside down for reasons they don’t understand. So, how can you help them to adjust to a divorce?
There are lots of ways to mitigate the amount of harm done to your children during your divorce. Remember, though, that it’s important to implement these methods as early on in the divorce process as possible. But how can you do this?
Speaking to prenuptial agreement solicitors in Bristol, London, Manchester, or wherever you live, will make sure your kids are looked after financially if the inevitable does happen. You can even sign a post-nuptial agreement whilst you’re still married to make the arrangements as simple as possible.
The question is, what other structures can you put in place at this early stage to help them adjust if you do divorce? In this post, we’re going to discuss the five most commonly accepted methods for helping your kids adjust. Take a look…
How Do You Help Children Adjust to a Divorce?
Being married to someone for a long period of time makes a divorce one of the hardest things to do for a lot of people. That said, there’s no shame in ending it, especially if it’s better for everyone involved.
As much as you don’t want your children to grow up in a broken home, the amount of grief and anxiety caused by parents fighting in front of them is much worse. In many cases, children do better when they relate to each parent alone in a healthy environment.
So, with that in mind, how do you make this transition easier on your child? Here are five methods you can use to help:
1. Provide Structure
One of the best ways to transition your child to their new life after divorce is to provide a new structure. Children thrive on structure because it stops them from feeling like their life is chaotic and out of their control.
The first thing to do is give your children ample notice that your partner is going to move out of the house. It’s a good idea to have your partner’s place ready to go before they move out so your children can visit their second home and bring some of their stuff over.
After that, you just need to reassure your child that both parents will always be around and how the structure of their new life will work. Tell them which days they’ll spend with which parent and give them a calendar with the dates marked on to make it easier.
However, as much as you want to stick religiously to the script in the early days of your separation, you should be willing to alter the schedule if you can’t keep to the plan. This reduces the chance of either of you missing out on time with your child.
2. Be there for them emotionally
As important as it is to build structure in a child’s life following a divorce, you also need to make sure you’re there for them emotionally.
Sit your child down if they seem upset and talk through the emotions children naturally feel in these situations. Explain how it’s normal to feel sad and angry about the divorce, that these feelings are difficult to deal with alone, and that they can come to you whenever they need to express their feelings.
It’s also important to reassure your child that it’s not their fault you and your partner got divorced. This is important because kids often believe their thoughts or behaviours cause bad events to happen.
3. Don’t badmouth the other parent
This method of helping kids adjust to a divorce seems quite simple on the surface but is probably one of the harder methods to pull off.
After a divorce, there’s likely to be some animosity between you and your partner over the failure of the marriage. So, avoid talking badly about the other parent or blaming them for the divorce because, even if your child isn’t there at the time, they might overhear you. What’s more, you’re likely to say it in front of them accidentally if it’s something you talk about often.
If your child hears either of you talking this way about each other, they might feel like they have to pick a side or at the very least will feel anxious and upset that their parents are fighting.
4. Take care of yourself
This is an often-overlooked method for helping kids adjust to a divorce, but it’s one of the most effective. When you’re constantly worrying about how your child is adjusting to their new life, you often neglect to look after yourself.
However, not looking after yourself has a direct impact on how effective you are in helping your child through the divorce. The less calm, happy, and content you are the less they are too.
To maintain your personal health and wellbeing during this time, try:
- Exercising often and eating a healthy diet.
- Seeing friends and family on a regular basis.
- Keeping a journal of all your thoughts, feelings, and moods.
- Enjoying your time with your child.
- Seeing a therapist.
5. Seek professional help
This method is for those children who are more at risk of being seriously harmed during their adjustment to a divorce. It’s a last resort for parents who have tried the other methods on this list and are still struggling.
Some symptoms are normal and will pass with time, such as anger, anxiety, and mild depression. But, there are more serious issues that your child might have that require professional attention.
If your child has any of the following symptoms, you should seek the help of a specialist:
- Trouble at school
- Sleep problems
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Poor concentration
- Self-injury, cutting, or eating disorders
- Frequent angry or violent outbursts
- Withdrawal from loved ones
- Disinterest in their favourite activities
Discuss these issues with your child’s doctor, therapist,or teachers to be referred for guidance from professionals.
Are These the Best Methods for Helping Your Child Adjust to a Divorce?
In this post, we’ve shared five methods for helping your child make it through a divorce, from giving them structure to looking after yourself.
Hopefully you can use these methods to help your own children get through it all as quickly and smoothly as possible.
If you have any more tips, be sure to leave them in the comments down below. Otherwise, good luck!
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