If you and your partner come to the decision that the best option for the whole family is to get divorced, there will most likely be many different emotions that arise. You probably know that this will likely be a difficult transition. Not only can divorce be difficult on you and your partner, but it can be an incredibly trying time for your children as well. They may be fearful of what this means for them and how the family dynamic and home-life will change. Consider these _ ways to help your child feel as supported as possible during this transition.
- Keep Their Age in Mind
Kids experience things differently depending on their age. Understanding, processing and expressing emotions can be incredibly different between preschoolers, school-age children and adolescents. Allow them to process this huge change in whatever way works for them, and make sure they know they are not the cause.
- Reassure Them
Your kids need to know it isn’t their fault that you and your partner are getting divorced. Make sure they know that both of you still love them the same, and that your decision has nothing to do with them.
- Be Open and Honest
Even if you don’t know the answers to your kids’ questions, it’s still best to honestly tell them that you’re not sure. They may ask things about where you and their other parent will live or what Christmas will be like. You don’t have to know the answers to everything right away, but the more open you are with them about everything, the more supported they’ll feel.
- Stay Positive about the Other Parent
Stray far away from negativity directed at your partner. Pinning blame on the other parent is not a healthy way for kids to cope with the divorce. The more positive they feel toward both you and your partner, the more understanding and accepting they can be of the divorce in general.
- Minimize Conflict in Front of Them
Keep your kids far out of arguments. Avoid fighting or conflict of any kind in front of them. Kids tend to look to their parents as role models and for an example of what to do next. The more civil you are with their other parent while they’re around, the bigger of a positive impact in will have on the way your kids view the situation.
As divorce is probably something new for your children to experience, they’ll likely be feeling many different emotions. They may have thoughts, questions or feelings that they’re not used to. Allow them to ask questions and express themselves verbally. Be an active and engaged listener for your children in order to support them as best you can.