5 Tips For Helping Your Children Navigate Divorce
Adam Dodge and Dr. Jill Murray
Children go through the same grieving process adults do in a divorce. They are in shock and disbelief about their parents splitting up. They are angry and confused. They may ask you time and again if you and Dad can get back together. They may tell you that the divorce is all your fault. Dad may press them for information about you or use them as couriers to tell you things. This all creates stress in children.
Because you want to make this difficult process as easy as you can for your kids, I urge you to consider implementing a few of these ideas:
Make a Parenting plan that Reflects your Children’s Ages:
1. An infant can’t go from one household to the other several times per week and a pre-teen or teen may want to spend more time with their friends than going to a park on a Saturday afternoon with mom or dad and siblings. Be sensitive to the their individual needs.
Let your Kids Have a Say in their New Surroundings:
2. If you are moving—or even staying put—allow them to choose something simple for their bedroom. It will give your children a small feeling of control over their environment.
3. Even though the world around them is changing in major ways, consistency in your household gives kids something they can expect. Setting boundaries, limits and establishing routines makes your kids feel secure.
Don’t Compete with your Wusband:
4. You don’t need to out-spend him or out-fun him. You are still the same mom in an altered circumstance. If you all-of-a-sudden try to be cool mom or have a generous wallet that will actually be jarring for your children. Let your ex do him and you do you.
Show Enthusiasm for your Children Spending Time with their Father:
5. Many children feel conflicted loyalties and are made to believe that they must choose a side. Don’t say negative things about him—no matter how tempting—and encourage their relationship. Children are extremely sensitive to the fact that they come from both mom and dad and when you say something negative, or find reasons why they shouldn’t spend time with him, what they really feel is that there is something negative about them personally.
Divorce is an intensely difficult time for everyone and a mother’s main concern is that her children will be able to navigate these waters successfully. By using these concepts, you will greatly help your kids do just that.
Take good care.