Divorce takes a lot out of one and is utterly unpleasant. Children are the actual casualties of divorces. 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. The stages of grief are felt on the child as well and in some instances, the child can get stuck on one emotion all the way to adulthood if the divorce is not handled well. What then can a parent do to help their child deal with divorce if the decision to have is final?
Listening needs to be the first thing you do. Letting your child know that they are being heard all through makes them feel significant despite the divorce. Ensure you have maintained a healthy relationship with your kids and they will keep you posted on their feelings along the way which you can work out together.
It is also important to break the news of the divorce to your child in person. 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. Look into what is co-parenting to see what it is all about and also study the child support guidelines. Respond to their questions as this will help your child understand more about what is to happen.
Kids will have to react but not all at the same time and you should acknowledge this. It goes without saying that the kids will react but it is important to help them through it all. Tell them that you care about how they feel and it is okay that it is okay for them to be upset. Not all kids will react as soon as the divorce is finalized but they might hold to their feelings a little bit longer. 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 assurance that whenever they are ready to share what they feel, you will hear them out.
After the initial reaction, you should help them 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. It is normal for them to miss their family and all their hopes and dreams as a family. Don’t make any promises to make them feel better but let them know that it is perfectly okay for them to hope. It is important that you tell the truth of the matter but help them cope with it.