Divorces are definitely not pleasant and can drain one in more ways than one. Children are the actual casualties of divorces. Children have to undergo the divorce as well and not just the concerned couple. The impact of divorce on kids can at times be felt a long time afterwards. If the divorce is not handled well, the effects of the divorce can be felt way into adulthood. What then can a parent do to help their child deal with divorce if the decision to have is final?
Listening needs to be the first thing you do. Letting your child know that they are being heard all through makes them feel significant despite the divorce. Ensure you have maintained a healthy relationship with your kids and they will keep you posted on their feelings along the way which you can work out together.
It is also important to break the news of the divorce to your child in person. Both parents need to be there for this. Discuss the discussion between the two of you before taking it to your child as this will ensure all feelings of hurt, anger, and blame are kept out of the discussion. Find out what is co-parenting and all that it entails not excluding the child support guidelines. Ensure you have responded to all their questions.
Kids will have to react but not all at the same time and you should acknowledge this. You should be ready for this and know how to help them and handle the reactions. You should let them know that it is okay for them to be upset and let them know that you care about how they feel. Not all kids will react as soon as the divorce is finalized but they might hold to their feelings a little bit longer. Some of them are afraid to feel sad and don’t know how to handle all the feelings or they just want to please you. Don’t try hurry them at all but be patient and allow them to come when they are ready.
After the initial reaction, you should help them cope with reality. Don’t take away their right to hope that things will be back to normal and mom and dad will be back together. They miss the kind of family they were used to and hoped for. Let them know that you understand what they want but don’t encourage them and give any false promises. Be considerate of what they feel but tell them the truth so that they won’t have false hope.