Divorces are definitely not pleasant and can drain one in more ways than one. In real sense though, the children are the casualties of any divorce. 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. Children go through all the stages of grief and if this goes unchecked, the child can get stuck on one of the emotions ad this can have adverse effects on their studies, and general life even way into adulthood. So, the decision to get a divorce has become irreversible and it has to go through given the circumstances, how can couples help their children deal with divorce?
The first thing you must do is to listen. 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. Listening to your child will alert you on the stages of grief that they are in and you can work it out together.
The other thing that you need to do is break the news yourself to your child. Having both parents present this is very important. Having a discussion with your spouse beforehand about how the news will be broken to your child will help you keep off feelings of hurt, anger, resentment, and blame during the discussion. Find out what is co-parenting and all that it entails not excluding the child support guidelines. Answer the questions smartly and help your child understand what is happening.
You should know that kids are different and they react very differently. 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. Some of them are afraid to feel sad and don’t know how to handle all the feelings or they just want to please you. Give them time and let them know that when they are ready, you are there for them.
Well, when they first react, they need to be able to 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 will definitely miss their family as it was and want it back. Let them know that you understand what they want but don’t encourage them and give any false promises. Be considerate of what they feel but tell them the truth so that they won’t have false hope.