Divorce is difficult for adults. Divorce is difficult for children. It is difficult for everyone. No doubt about it. I had sailed through it. Not a smooth sailing – mind you – but I learnt so much through the process.
My divorce was finalized in 2011.
I still deal with the remnants of my divorce until this very day especially because I have a young son, 7 years old, who is still trying to make sense of how things are. He was only a little over 3 years old when his father and I split. Too young to understand, yet he knew something was off when he cried at nights and asked to come home to the apartment to be with his father.
I am not an expert as I am still learning about how to help my child with coping, understanding and thriving through his parents’ divorce.
Here are five ways that I have helped my child cope with divorce:
Provide Love and Assurance
It is very important to make them feel loved at all times even when their parents are no longer living together and will be divorced. Children need reassurance that the divorce is not their fault. Reassuring them that the divorce is not about them, and they could not prevent it. When their love tank is full, children will feel secure.
Encourage Open Communications
This can be challenging, but I try to be more open with my son and ask him questions to encourage him to express how he feels. He knows he can ask me anything about the divorce, but there are some details that I will never tell him. I explain to him it is normal for him to feel sad, angry and to want his father and I to reconcile.
Being Clear That Divorce is Final
One day my boy returned home and asked me how come mommy and daddy can’t live in the same house again. I had to explain to him again that mommy and daddy are divorced and we agreed to go our own separate ways. We have our own lives now and we are happy for one another. I took that opportunity to tell him that it is completely normal to have that wish and followed up by turning it around and showing the benefits of having two homes.
Never Ever Badmouth The Ex
This is a big one – especially for all family members involved. I have to remind my relatives and family that no matter what, my ex-husband is still and forever will be my boy’s father. Bad mouthing the ex puts the children in the middle of the conflict and it is unsettling to them.
This part can get tricky, but both parents need to set the needs of the child as the most important thing. It is important to push the ego aside when it comes to co-parenting. It’s not about me and my ex. It is about our son. I explain the schedules that his father and I agreed upon in matter-of-fact manner, so he knows what to expect. We both are on the same page about important things such as disciplines, etc. We are both still learning to co-parent better. but things are getting better with time.
Let Your Child Be Child
Don’t turn children into a counselor and vent the frustrations to them. It is not fair! Using your child as an emotional support can be damaging to their psychology in the long run.
If you are divorced, how do you help your child(ren) cope with it?
This is an original post, by our World Mom, Maureen from Indonesia who also writes at ScoopsOfJoy.com.
Photo credit to the author.