Divorce is difficult at the best of times; when kids are involved it is worse. A divorce can be terribly traumatic for a child; it can be a painful and confusing time for them. However you as a parent can take care to see that your child suffers as few of the negative impacts of divorce as possible, by doing few things and avoiding some others. Here are a few tips to keep in mind in order to help your child deal with this painful situation with the least of trauma possible.
1. Spare Them the Skirmishing
Every expert on the subject will agree that bickering and arguing in front of the kids is a big no-no. Spare your child the hostility; it makes the situation tenser and increases your child’s stress levels. Even otherwise try and be as civil to your ex or your to-be ex.
2. Don’t Badmouth Your Spouse
Remember you are the one who has issues with your spouse and not your child. Don’t try and erode the love and faith your child has in your spouse because it can also erode your child’s sense of self. It is important for a child to love and trust both parents even if they are not together.
3. Keep the Separation Decent and Peaceful
Accept separation decently. This will help you make a smoother transition which in turn will substantially reduce the amount of bad feelings that divorce is usually known to cause among the family. Everyone in the family including the child will benefit from it.
4. Don’t Restrict the Child from Keeping in Touch
Never ever try to put restrictions on the child from meeting or keeping in touch with the other parent. Remember, the child needs and belongs to both of the parents; he/she can’t be happy with just one of them.
5. Don’t Use the Child as a Pawn
Your child is not a means to send out messages or gather information about your ex. He or she should never become a bargaining chip between the two of you – this does your child a grave disservice.
6. Explain, but Leave Out the Details
You do need to sit your child down and explain that you and your spouse will no longer be together. You do owe them an explanation, so give them the bare bones of the situation. However stop short of assigning blame and accusing and leave out the gory details.
7. Remember, You’re the Adult
Don’t allow a situation to develop where your child is taking care of you and your emotions. You need to pull it together and be there for your child – the situation is not their fault.
8. Keep to the Routine As Far As Possible
Your child is upset and disturbed at this time. However keeping to the routine helps comfort them that things are not going to change so drastically after all.
9. Reassure the Child
Both parents need to reassure the child that the way things turned out is not their fault. Your child also needs the reassurance that just because you stopped loving your spouse, you’re not going to stop loving them; that you’ll always love them and be there for them.
10. Get Help
If you cannot deal with the situation, get help. You as well as your child may benefit from counseling – letting go of the hurt and anger and coming to terms with a changed situation.