Many people hope to meet their ideal partner, get married, have children, and live out the rest of their lives happily, but life often surprises us with challenges, obstacles, and problems we simply couldn’t have predicted, to begin with. It’s no surprise, therefore, that hundreds of thousands of divorces occur in the US each year.
While divorce rates have been going down in recent years, it’s still true that a large percentage of marriages won’t succeed in the long term, and when a marriage ends, the divorce proceedings can be challenging and stressful for both parties, especially when children are involved.
Little ones and older kids alike can struggle to accept the reality of their parents deciding to go their separate ways, with studies showing that many children feel frightened, alone, and anxious, as well as experiencing various other negative emotions during this difficult time.
Fortunately, there are options available for parents who want to protect their kids and guide them through this challenging process, and it’s very important for mothers and fathers to respect and understand their children’s feelings, responding and reacting with maturity and sensibility as they move towards the best possible conclusion for everyone.
Here are some useful tips for parents wanting to help their kids cope with divorce.
Maturity and Respect
There may be serious issues that led to your separation, and you might have a lot of resentment for your future ex-spouse, but it’s important to try to not let those feelings manifest themselves too much, especially in front of your children.
Kids dealing with divorce have more than enough stress already, and seeing or hearing their parents be cruel and callous to one another will only make things worse. Whether you’re negotiating the details of child custody or working out how to divide possessions and property, try to approach each phase of the process with maturity and respect, setting a strong example for your children.
Active, Not Passive
One of the best ways to help kids deal with divorce is to get through the process as quickly and comfortably as possible, and one of the smartest ways to do this is to take an active part in the proceedings, rather than simply being passive or unwilling to make any decisions or take any action.
A lot of people can feel burned out during a divorce, wishing they could just stay in bed and not have to worry about dealing with lawyers, filling out paperwork, and so on, but it’s your divorce and it’s up to you to take control over it. The more effort you put in now, the sooner it will all be over for you and your children, allowing everyone to move on and start the next stage of their life.
Communication Is Key
Communication is absolutely essential during a divorce, especially when kids are involved. As mentioned earlier, kids can often feel alone or overlooked in this kind of situation, and it’s important for parents to take some time to speak with their children to understand how they’re feeling and give them an opportunity to get some answers.
Children may feel confused or scared, they might not know what the future holds, and they might have a lot of questions they’re nervous about asking you. Sitting down with your kids and engaging them in a mature discussion will give them chance to air their thoughts and feelings, helping you learn more about how they feel and letting them know they’re not alone.
Acknowledge Their Feelings
Another essential tip for parents dealing with divorce and wanting to help their children get through it is to truly acknowledge their feelings. Kids have a right to be upset and angry in these situations. They might lash out, they might get frustrated, and they might respond to the situation with anger.
Parents might find this sort of behavior difficult to deal with, but you can’t simply ignore it or fall into the trap of accusing your kids of acting immaturely or treat them as though their feelings aren’t valid or important. Acknowledge the way they feel and let them know they can express themselves.
Divorces are often challenging and stressful, and the situation can be compounded when the lives, futures, and feelings of children are at stake. However, with the right attitude and approach, you can negotiate this difficult time in the best possible way, leading to a conclusion that should allow everyone, including your kids, to move on.
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This is a contributed post.