Divorce often devastates a person’s emotions, leading them down a long road to recovery and healing. Luckily, as adults, we have the capacity to undertake these issues with more maturity and understanding of the process than children. Unfortunately, children easily misinterpret the adult issues and problems, resulting in a more difficult transition.
Children tend to internalize the marriage problems and feel at fault for the changes they view as “wrong” or “negative”. Children are sensitive to disruptions in their regular daily routine and family structures. Major changes brought on by divorce may cause high levels of anxiety, depression, anger, etc. Even if parents are better off living separate lives and formally divorcing, children still need to go through their own healing and transition process.
What can parents do to help their children through the divorce process? Here are some things that take center stage when addressing divorce and managing the road ahead with your children:
Respect – Especially because they are your children, do they deserve your utmost respect. Respect the way they feel. Don’t try and pull them away from their sadness or suppress their true emotions. If they are angry, let them get their anger out. When you show respect and consideration for their space and their individuality in how they are adapting, you will draw them closer to you when they are ready to open up and receive your unconditional love.
A peaceful example – Try your best to show them by example, how you can survive divorce and have peace in your life no matter what. You don’t have to be inauthentic, but create an atmosphere that invites peace and get your frustrations out with trained professionals and when your children are not around you. Avoid arguing over the phone or speaking bad of the other parent when your children can hear you. You are healing from this experience and they can too, your example will inspire hope and peace in their lives as well.
Keep your word – Kids need to know they have a stable foundation even if their parents are splitting up the family and home. You can do this by always keeping your word and establishing strong reliability among your children. Your relationship with your children is not being disowned by a new lover who demands your attention, or your avoidance of the other spouse. When you keep your word, your children know you love them and you are going to show up when it matters most.
Divorce doesn’t have to be as devastating to children as it sometimes is. There are ways to prevent your children from unnecessary suffering. It starts by committing to change and adapting a positive and mature way of handling the situation. There is always hope for you and your children to survive and thrive in a better future.