Separation or divorce is never a smooth or pleasant experience for children. It, in fact, is a particularly sad and stressful time for them. Children, regardless of how old they are, tend to feel confused, shocked and agitated at the prospect of their parents parting ways. Though it is normal for every child to be worried and anxious about his or her parents’ divorce, it is the responsibility of a parent to make the ordeal less traumatic for them.
Here are a few tips that can help you reduce the emotional burden for your child.
Children are entitled to be aware of the reasons due to which their parents have decided to part ways. One should also keep in mind that giving long-winded reasons may confuse them. Parents should make the conversation simple yet honest. Parents should also tell them that while they may not be able to get along together, as parents they will never stop loving their children and won’t get separated from them. You should also tell your children that you love them no matter how cliché it may sound.
Listen to your children
It goes without saying that children feel a heavy sense of loss during the divorce of their parents. Thus, parents should encourage their children to approach them and talk freely with them. When they do approach you as parents, you should diligently listen to them. They may want to vent their innermost feelings, which could constitute sadness, frustration, even agitation or any other emotion that they may be experiencing. Some children may even have difficulty in expressing how they feel. As parents, you may also help them find the right words and motivate them to talk.
Acknowledge that they are having difficulties
While parents can do little to reduce their pain and anxiety, they can still acknowledge their problems rather than dismissing them as trivial and baseless. Parents should make their children understand that they can empathize with them which, in turn, can build trust and inter-dependence with the children. If your children are not quite young, they may have questions and concerns regarding what has happened, and you should try to be as straightforward and honest as possible while answering them.
Be patient while reassuring them
Children may behave in a perplexing way. They may show that they have understood you on one day, and they may have thousands of questions on the following day. You should always try to treat your children’s misunderstandings with utmost patience. You must always remind them they have no part to play in their parents’ divorce and that as parents, you will continue to love them always.
Make sure that your words and actions remain consistent throughout. Also, ensure that you give enough time to come to terms with the fact of their parents will no longer be together as a family. This will help them heal. You must offer them the support, care, and love they need.