The decision to separate or divorce is difficult. When there are children involved, it is important to remember that divorce impacts their lives too. Divorce introduces a major change into the life of a boy or girl no matter what the age. Witnessing loss of love between parents, adjusting to going back and forth between two different households, and the daily absence of one parent while living with the other, all create challenges for a child. Considering how divorce may impact your child may help you facilitate a smoother transition. Consider the following tips:
- Give them a routine they can count on. A regular routine is comforting in times of upheaval.
- Avoid speaking negatively about your spouse as this can be painful for your children and possibly lead to negative perceptions of themselves.
- Kids often feel responsible for the break-up, so reassure them often that the divorce isn’t their fault.. Make extra time for your kids. Be available emotionally and physically.
- Take time to talk and play together. Balance out the negatives with some joyful times, building good memories as a bridge to a fresh beginning.
- Show appreciation of your spouse. Share positive things about their other parent.
- Encourage quality time with both parents. Never take time with the other parent away as a punishment (for either your child or your spouse).. Maintain a united front. Kids will feel more supported if you are able to discuss the changes of divorce with your spouse present.
- Let your children make age appropriate choices such as, “Do you want to go to bed at 8:30pm or 9pm?” or “Do you want to do your chores first or homework first?”, giving them a sense of control.
- Let kids be kids. Be conscious of allowing your children to enjoy the innocence of childhood, by protecting them from negative references surrounding the divorce.
Source: Huffington Post, “Remember your children are going through this divorce too,” Michelle Crosby, May 5, 2014.