Divorce is hard. Whether you made the decision yourself or were blindsided with divorce papers, going through a divorce and planning a new life can be very disorienting.
As difficult as divorce is for adults, it can be even tougher for children. Unlike the adults in the scenario, children are often not aware of the full scope of the marriage’s issues and can be confused about why their parents are splitting up. They may even internalize the divorce and feel like the decision to divorce must somehow be their fault.
It is crucial for mothers and fathers to provide extra attention to their children and take steps to make sure their needs are being met through every stage of the process. It is not uncommon for children to show signs of anxiety or depression during a divorce or even act out emotionally or violently.
To reduce the stress and anxiety of divorce and avoid your children blaming themselves, you can take the following actions as a parent:
- Remember to tell them that you love them. It is important for your children to hear this verbalized so they know your love for them has not changed as a result of the divorce.
- Present a united front with their other parent as much as possible. Respectful co-parenting demonstrates that you are serious about your shared commitment to doing what is best for your children regardless of your relationship status.
- Listen to their questions and concerns, and provide them with age-appropriate answers about the changes that are occurring in all of your lives.
- Do not use your kids as a sounding board to vent about your ex. This places them in an unfair position and can lead to parental alienation.
Divorce is a big change for everyone, but these steps can help you shield your children from the worst of it and lay a good foundation for the future.