Divorce takes a lot out of one and is utterly unpleasant. 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. Pay a lot of attention to what your child is saying as this will help your child know that he or she is being heard. Maintain a healthy relationship with your child as this will help them open up about the divorce along the way and you can work it all out together.
The other thing that you need to do is break the news yourself to your child. This has to be done by both parents at the same time. 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. Look into what is co-parenting to see what it is all about and also study the child support guidelines. Ensure you have responded to all their questions.
The kids will definitely react and in different times and ways. Knowing this, you should be ready to help them through it and understand how they react. They should know and feel that you care about their feelings and that they are valid and it is okay for them to be upset. You will realize that not all kids will react as you expect them too because some of them will keep their feelings hidden and act like they are okay. These kids either want to please you as the parent or they just are not ready to deal with all these difficult feelings. Give them assurance that whenever they are ready to share what they feel, you will hear them out.
After the initial reaction, you should help them cope with reality. It is normal for them to hope that things would go differently and their parents would be back together in no time. They miss the kind of family they were used to and hoped for. Don’t make any promises to make them feel better but let them know that it is perfectly okay for them to hope. Encourage them and let them know what your plans are so that they won’t have false hope.