Getting a divorce is a life-changing decision. While it may be the best option for you and your spouse, it will also have an impact on your kids. To help them through the process, there are ways to remain focused on their needs and emotions.
1. Be Honest
Being honest with your child is the best way to help them through the divorce. They will probably feel confused and emotional and have a lot of questions. Answer them to the best of your ability. This is also when you need to reassure them that they did nothing wrong and that the divorce is not their fault.
2. Consider Taking Them to Counseling
Many kids may feel like they can’t talk to either parent during this time because they don’t want to seem loyal to one over the other. Consider taking them to counseling. Having someone who will listen, give them coping skills and help them understand what is going on is a great way to stay focused on your child’s well being.
3. Remind Them that They Are Loved
Kids need to know that they are cared for and loved. There are a lot of emotions during a divorce, including anger and sadness. Let your kids know that it’s okay for everyone to feel these things but that they are still loved by both parents.
4. Make Co-Parenting Work
It can be a challenge to let go of spite and resentment toward your spouse, but it’s important to do it for the sake of your kids. Keep communication open and civil to do what is in your child’s best interest. This will keep the focus on them and let them know that you and your spouse want what is best for them.
5. Don’t Use Kids as Messengers or Spies
When you are no longer living in the same home as your parent, it can be tempting to use your child as a messenger or a spy. This is really unfair for your child. They may not always remember what message they need to give to their other parent. If you make them a spy, this will make them uncomfortable and put them in an awkward position. To keep the focus on your kids, find a way to communicate with your spouse so that you don’t have to put your child in this unnecessary and awkward.
Getting a divorce might be the best option for you and your spouse, but it will also have an impact on your children. The best way to remain focused on their needs is to make an effort to keep communication open—between you and your kids and between you and your spouse.