Children and Divorce

Children and Divorce Mike Baird

Divorce a common problem for a lot of families in today's society. Each individual family handles this situation in many different ways, depending on their circumstances. Some parents listen to the advice from their family and friends on dealing with divorce and kids while some would search on the internet, talk to a Doctor or look for divorce and children books. However it may be,  there is a need for a simple quick guide to help families going through divorce so you understand what to do and what not to do when it comes with Divorce and Children.

First of all, the fact is ‘Divorce’ in a family causes a lot of problems and complications for everyone. Apart from that, Divorce comes with a lot of negative psychological emotions such as Anger, Frustration, Fear and Depression. All of these feelings are not good for any human condition. It is a known fact that these psychological stresses also bring a lot of complications to the physical body. This is the same effect that your child may have to experience as well since both you and your ex are a big part of your child's life.

Divorce can trigger all sorts of psychological stress, depression, anger and confusion for your child. Your younger child may not be able to understand what exactly is happening but they can still sense the tension and uneasiness. Your older kids who can understand that you are going through a divorce tend to suffer depression. 

How would you help your children cope with your divorce? 

Here are some basic lists of guidelines of dont's:

Do not fight or argue in front of your child - Doesn't matter if it’s in person or over the phone. This not only causes stress, worry & uncertainty within your child, it could also make them feel guilty, thinking the parents are fighting or separating because of something they did wrong.

Do not lie to your kids about Divorce - Depending on your child's age, try to give them the simplest answer so they can understand the situation and what is happening in their lives. Make sure you do not lie about it. At the same time, don’t go into too much detail into it as well. It is important to discuss the changes that are happening within the family. Be honest and children have a right to know what’s going on.

Avoid blaming - This is common in many divorce situations. You have to keep in mind that as an adult you need to act diplomatic to your child and help & support them during this time keeping your grief and personal differences between you and your partner aside. I can understand how tough this is considering the hard situation you are already in, but you need to do what is best for your child.

Don’t take the bad road - It is a known fact that many people turn to compulsive drinking, smoking, unprescribed medications and many other actions that could jeopardize both theirs and their child’s life. This is caused due to the stress during situation like this. But the most important of all is – ‘Taking care of Yourself’.

You should always keep in mind that your child needs you and you have to be there for your child. You should do whatever it takes to minimize the negative effect on your child that this divorce may have caused. So as hard as it sounds.... try to be calm and take care of yourself so therefore you can take care of your child.

If it too hard for you to handle this situation by yourself, by all means feel free to lean on your friends and family. Talk to them about your anger, frustration and whatever feeling you are going through so that you don’t take it out on your kids. Do not hesitate to seek help.

Here are some basic lists of guidelines of do's

Talk to your child -  This is a very hard thing to do since you yourself are experiencing many mixed emotions inside of you due to the situation. But talking to kids about separation is important. It is vital to let your child know on what is happening. When you talk to you child, make sure you explain the situation in a child-friendly manner. You do not need to get into the details since you don’t want to bother your child with problems they might not even understand at their age. Make it simple so they can understand. You can also address the changes that will be happening by making them understand that things will be different from now. However, do not overwhelm them with too much information. Just address what is important, relevant and simple.

Answer your kid's questions - Generally older kids and teenagers may have more questions regarding the divorce since they tend to understand more than young children.Be prepared for some tough questions and it's important to remain honest. The best way is, make sure that you plan carefully before you talk to your child so that you are prepared and anticipate what questions to expect from your child. Talk to your child only after you get a mental grip of yourself. This could prevent you from a breakdown in front of your child if any tough questions are asked.

If you do have a breakdown your child will be too afraid of asking you any questions about this in fear of making you upset. Let your child know that they can come to you with any thoughts or questions or just to chat about how they are feeling. Try and keep a hold of yourself.

Let your child express themselves - Make sure you let your child show their feelings and emotions. It's important you acknowledge how your child is feeling. Help and encourage your child to talk if they are having trouble expressing their feelings or if they are reluctant to share thinking they might hurt you. This would help them a lot psychologically. Remember, kids cannot express or share their sadness by talking to anyone else other than you, their parent. So make sure you make it easy for them and understand them. Help your kids to cope with divorce.

Sometimes your child may still be reluctant to open up to you or speak to you about how they feel. In this case, look for other signs and see if your child prefers spending more time alone or would rather be with friends. If this does occur try and spend some quality time with your child doing something that they would enjoy. Your child just is having a hard time expressing themselves. Don’t get angry at your child during this situation. Talk to your child...

Reassurance - Make sure you give as much assurance as you can to your child. Make sure that your child understands that are not losing neither mum nor dad and that your partner will still be seeing and spending time with your child. Tell your child that both of you (parents) love him unconditionally and that they will be there to support him.

Spend time with your child - Many families get caught up with many things during the divorce and they might forget to spend time with their children. It is hard dealing with divorce and children. You may find it extremely hard to balance your personal life, work, managing your child and handling your grief. However it's important to make sure you leave aside a bit of time each and everyday, so you can spend time with your child one on one. I am not talking about the time you spend on caring for your child.

Spend some quality time and you can do some fun activities or play some games with your kids. This would benefit both ways. For one, it will help your child considerably since they understand that they are not forgotten and they are not alone. The few minutes you spend playing with your child can make them forget the stress and enjoy the time with you which itself is a big psychological break. The second, it will also benefit you a lot since you can take your mind off the stress and problems for awhile and also helps you in looking at the brighter side of your life – your child.

Gradually, this will work out to be a key factor in helping you and your child through this tough phase and cruise together to the next phase of your life. This works better than any medications can....

Make sure that you take care of yourself and also make sure that your child doesn't suffer from depression or other problems due to this. This can only be identified in due course of time. It is always good to talk to your Doctor if you have any questions or if you or your child is unable to cope with the situation emotionally.As an assurance let me tell you, time tends to heal any stressful situation. Just do the right thing and focus on the brighter sides and the important aspect of your life, so you can sail through the tough time.

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Last modified on Wednesday, December 31, 2014
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