It may no longer be taboo, but it still hurts.
Can divorce be what is best? Yes! BUT the reality is that many divorces end with pain, anger and hostility. When this happens the children are thrown into the middle of a battle that they did not choose. Always remember, this is not what they chose. Most children want peace and unity among their parents. Far too many times parents lose sight of the fact that it is THEIR decisions that put children in these situations, it is THEIR decisions that has caused turmoil and confusion, it is THEIR decisions that has broken up the family. Not the child’s.
Here are 7 ways that you can best support your child through this difficult transition:
- Remember that your children live YOUR consequences.
- Be there for them through whatever they are feeling. Whether they are mad, sad, hurt, angry, or scared…be there. You may not be able to fix it or make it better, but just be there, listen and support.
- Don’t speak poorly of the other parent. Your children are doing the best they can and they don’t want to hear about all the bad things you have to say about the other half of them. Essentially when you say that the other parent is bad, you are saying that half of them is bad too.
- Be compassionate. This is just as new to your children as it is to you. Understand that they are treading through the waters and trying to find their way, their spot, their center.
- If you notice any changes in their behavior, GET THEM HELP! Children often want to please everyone, and they want everyone to be happy especially their parents and therefore it is difficult for them to fully and openly express themselves. They need someone neutral, someone not involved what so ever in their lives to empty out what they hold on to. It is not shameful to find someone (a professional) for your child to talk to.
- Keep new partners AWAY! This cannot be stressed enough. Yes 8 months may have passed and your children seem to be ok… but they are still processing, they are still recreating their family, their are still changing and learning. Adding a new partner will always bring up feelings for your children and has the potential to cause a lot of issues for them.
- Rebuild with them. When the family is intact and the children view their parents as “mom and dad” not as people or individual people. They don’t question their roles or where they stand in the family because the role of mom and dad is taken. When a separation happens, children and youth must recreate their relationship with each parent as an individual, they must re-establish the roles. Take time to to rebuild your relationship with your children in the new family setting.