27 Aug 5 Ways to Help Your Kids Adjust To a Divorce
The divorce process is not always an easy one. Unfortunately, the children are often the most at risk of being hurt by the divorce (or separation). Fortunately, there are ways to help children adjust to a divorce and make the change easier on them. While it will likely still be difficult, here are five ways to help your kids to adjust to your divorce.
1. Talk to Them
Shutting your children out is perhaps the worst way to help your child adapt to a divorce. Children are naturally inquisitive, and when they are forced to grapple with a challenging and dramatic change in their life, they will definitely want to know more. While there will likely be certain things you will need to withhold from your child or things that they will not understand, you must keep talking to them. Communication, as is the case in most situations, is key.
2. Do Your Best to Keep Changes in Their Life Minimal
Divorce is a huge change for everyone involved regardless of the condition of the marriage before the proceedings. In order to help your child adjust to this massive change, it is important to keep other changes in their life to a minimal. Some changes will be unavoidable. There may be custody rules that come into play or even a possible move into a different house. If these changes arise, try to respond to them in stride. Talk to your child about the process, and try to keep everything else as it was before. If your child has to deal with changes in other parts of life too, it will only make coming to term with the divorce that much more difficult.
3. Reassure Them That They Are Loved
This is a good reminder regardless of whether or not your child is going through a divorce with you, but it is particularly important during and after a divorce. One of the ways that your child’s friends and others will try to explain a divorce is by saying that the parents do not love each other anymore. Whether or not this is actually true, this will inevitably lead to the child questioning whether or not they are loved. Your job as a parent is to make sure your child asks this as few times as possible. Remind your child often that they are loved.
4. Reassure Their Safety
Similar to the previous point, children might start questioning their safety. Divorce is typically a somewhat illogical and foreign process to children that have not experienced it in some way before, and this confusing newness may cause them to be concerned about other things as well. Their first concern, of course, being their safety. Don’t let your child feel scared or unsafe. Remind them that you are there to protect them and they are safe.
5. Keep Their Routine As “Normal” as Possible
This is perhaps the most practical advice from this list. It also relates to the second point, but there is a lot to be said here beyond that. Children find comfort in similarities, in routine, and in the expected. A divorce, of course, is not part of that routine and is not something they expect, per say. With that note, it is likely concerning and scary to children. The more things that are changed or unexpected, the more concerned the children will likely become. If other aspects of the child’s life, however, remain the same, they will at least have something to lean on and rely upon. They will have something to expect and look forward to. These expectations provide comfort, but they also offer hope when you are in a dark place in your life. Children will likely find this routine as something to hope for and get back to. Routine gives children agency and the ability to act in a confusing time when they may feel like there is nothing for them to do. This is a lot of different information and interpretations of why routine is essential, but it really cannot be overstated.
If you are going through a divorce, it is important to speak with your spouse about your children. Communicate with them the importance of the children, and make it very clear that the children’s livelihood is of the utmost importance.