The time of the divorce can be fraught with confusion, sadness, and even anger. Your child’s emotions may be running high, and it is the opportune time to step in and provide extra care and comfort for them. Emotional distress of children surrounding divorce can be minimized if you and your ex can remember these following tips:
1. Let them share their concerns
Your children will have many concerns during this time, and you must listen to what they have to say, and work it out with them. Do not shut them down, and do not make them feel like their feelings are invalid. Listen carefully, and listen often. This will go a long way to help them maintain a level of emotional safety.
2. Do not sugarcoat, but do not overshare
When formulating responses to your child’s tough questions, ask yourself a few things about your response: Is it kind? Is it factual? Is it necessary? Kids are inquisitive, and especially during this time, they will have many questions. Sugarcoating your response won’t help them, but neither will oversharing intimate details about your relationship with your ex. It is up to you to find an appropriate middle ground.
3. Set a consistent visitation schedule
Adequate time with both parents is key to help the children transition into their new two-home life successfully. Finding a consistent schedule and keeping you communication respectful with your co-parent is a must . Children want to know “what the plan is” for seeing both parents and spending quality time with each. This should help return a sense of normalcy to your children.
4. Do not let the divorce process cut into your time with your children
Divorce is complicated and time consuming, it will cut into the time you would rather spend on other things. It may be easy to let the hours in the day slip away as you spend time contacting lawyers, talking to schools, or making agreements with your co-parent. This is completely understandable. However, this is not an excuse for missing time with your children. Spending time with them may help mitigate the heightened emotional state they may be in. Take some time to do fun activities with your children, help them with their homework, check in with them. This will go a long way to help them during this process.
5. Do not put your children in the middle of your divorce
Undoubtedly, there will be divorcing couples mired in emotional turmoil themselves. If this sounds like your situation, be advised that the proceedings are about you and your ex alone. Nothing will stress a child out more than for them to feel like they’re being used by their parents to torment or hurt the other. This will only hurt your children, and will surely make them feel emotionally distressed and unsafe.