Divorce is rarely easy, but the process is further complicated when you have kids. Even when there is much conflict in the home already, children often experience a range of emotions after parents officially separate.
While you cannot spare your children from all negative emotions, you can make the process less traumatic for them. WebMD offers the following ways in which you can help kids cope with your divorce.
Watch what you say about the other parent
Resentment is normal after divorce, especially when issues like infidelity played a role. It is best to shield your child from this resentment to reduce harm to their relationship with you and your ex. When in conflict with your former spouse, make sure your child is out of earshot. Never badmouth your former spouse and do not put your child in the middle to solve disputes.
Try to maintain normalcy
Children need a solid routine to feel safe and secure. While some changes are necessary after divorce, try to maintain your child’s previous lifestyle as best you can. Keep bedtimes the same, participate in the same activities, and generally just remain accessible to your child. Maintaining some sort of routine will help your child get used to other changes, such as the absence of your ex-spouse from the family home.
Encourage your child to interact with your ex
Unless there are issues related to abuse or neglect, children should maintain healthy relationships with both parents after divorce. Having a relationship with both parents benefits kids in the long run, and also makes co-parenting easy for you. Urge your child to keep in contact with your ex when spending time with you, whether that is through phone calls, texts, or emails. Additionally, do not stand in the way of your ex when they reach out to your child.
Although negative feelings are normal after divorce, prolonged feelings of sadness or depression call for further assistance. Do not hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional if you believe your child needs assistance handling the issue.