Helping Your Kids Cope With Divorce
Children and Divorce
Without a doubt, the most difficult aspect of getting a divorce is helping the kids cope with the split. Obviously, a divorce can be quite tough on a child and, if not handled effectively, can lead to long term resentment and behavioral problems. Therefore, care must be taken to help your kids cope with divorce in order to help them get through it in the healthiest manner possible.
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How To Talk To Your Kids About Divorce
One of the most important things you can do to help your child cope with your divorce is to talk it out with your child. Attempting to pretend the problems do not exist will only increase your child's anxiety. While you don't have to tell your child every gory detail about your marriage and why it is coming to an end, you should make it clear to your child that he or she has nothing to do with the divorce and that you simply don't wish to be together anymore.
When you talk with your child about the divorce plans, avoid finger pointing and blaming. Even if one of you did something that was the main cause of the divorce, such as committing adultery, your child doesn't need to know this information. Your emphasis should be on letting your child know that the divorce is not his or her fault and that you both love him or her very much.
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Keeping Divorce Amiable
Even if you and your spouse can no longer stand the sight of one another, it is important for you to be amiable in front of the children. Depending upon how the marriage ended, your children may have already witnessed you having plenty of arguments. They don't need to see these arguments any longer. Rather, try to get along with each other in front of the children and save your disagreements for when they are not around.
As part of keeping it amiable, you should also make a conscious effort to avoid badmouthing your ex in front of your children or putting your children in the middle of your disagreements. If you badmouth your ex or otherwise try to drive a wedge between your ex and your child, your child will only resent you for your efforts. If your spouse truly is a "bad" person, your child will discover this on his or her own and doesn't need you to point it out. The same is true when it comes to your disagreements - your child should never serve as the go between or as the spy for you or your spouse. This will only result in confusion and will make your child feel as if he or she has to choose sides.
Spend Time Without Overcompensating
As you go through your divorce, it is important for you to spend time with your child. While caught up in the emotions of getting a divorce, it is easy to forget to find time for your child. Yet, this is a time during which you need to be certain your child gets plenty of your attention and reassurance.
At the same time, avoid the temptation to overcompensate for the divorce and to buy your child's love. This will only result in a bad situation for everyone involved. What your child really needs at this time is to know that you are there and that your love is still strong, even when your love for your spouse has faded.