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Divorce in a Child's World

Updated on September 7, 2020
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When Parents Divorce

"I am a divorced child, of divided, uncertain background. Within this division I - supposed fruit of their love - no longer exist. It happened nearly forty years ago, yet to me, nothing is sadder than my parents' divorce." Sylvia Kristel

Divorce can be a very traumatic experience even for the toughest person - for kids, the trauma is even worse. Seeing their parents` marriage breaking down and the communication between them dying like a fire hurts them deeply and scars them for life. Therefore, it is extremely important that when parents go through a divorce they should expose their kids to only the positive side of things, so that they can be able to cope with the ordeal that will destabilize their home.

Helping The Kids To Cope

A parent`s listening ear, reassurance and patience can reduce the tension children might experience as they learn to handle the unexperienced circumstances of a divorce. When parents provide consistency for their kids it helps the young ones to keep on being reliant on their parents. Parents always need to remind their kids that they can always count on them for care, structure and stability even if they are no longer together. During and after the divorce, parents must maintain a health working relationship between the both of them, even if sometimes it can be impossible to do so.

A healthy working relationship between exes helps their children to avoid the anguish and stress they might experience as they watch their parents` discord and conflict. When children receive support from their parents, the children will not only cope better in unsettling times, they will also feel loved, strong and confident. Consistency also helps the parents to establish a solid bond with their kids even after the divorce.

The golden rules that will help kids cope with their parents` divorce are positive speech, positive actions and self-care. When parents explain their divorce situation to their child they should make sure that the explanation is of an optimistic nature. Secondly, under no circumstances should the other parent badmouth the other to their kid(s).

Parents should always remember that children have impressionable and tender hearts and minds; what one parent says about the other, and how they say it, could drastically change how the child sees the other parent. If the two do not have anything positive to say to their kids about their divorce and each other, it would be best if they asked someone they both trust to break the news to their kids. That person should be someone who the child trusts and loves, and someone who will not pick sides. In whatever that happens, kids always want to feel loved and they need to be reassured that the divorce is not their fault.

During the process of the divorce, children should be allowed to express their feelings. Allow them to be honest about how they feel so that they do not become angry souls. Sometimes children might hold back on expressing their feelings out of fear of hurting their parents; that is why it is important that they should be assured that whatever they share about how they feel is okay. It is only normal that children might blame one of their parents for the divorce, but if they are not made comfortable to share such emotions, they will find it difficult to deal with the divorce.

The other way parents can help their children to cope with their divorce is by taking care of themselves. Turning to unhealthy behaviours just to cope with the divorce will only frustrate the children. When children see their parents breakdown they too breakdown, that happens because they admire their parents. For instance, if the father were to become an alcoholic because of the stress from the divorce, the kids might end up resenting the mother for breaking their father. Therefore, instead of turning to things like alcohol, sex, drugs etc. parents who are going through a divorce should distress at the gym, outdoor sport or find a hobby. Parents should be an example of resilience for their children.

Whatever happens in life, parents should never give their child a reason to hate the other parent. If the relationship unfortunately breaks down between a child and his or her mother or father, the breakdown should stem from something that directly happened between the parent and the child. Kids should never be made to inherit pain and hate; they should experience life in their own way.

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