As bad as divorce is for the couple separating, it’s even harder for any kids involved. Divorce is rough on kids of all ages. For little kids, it’s confusing and scary to see mommy and daddy breaking up and no longer living together. It’s like their whole world is being turned upside down. And for teens, dealing with a divorce during a time in their life when everything else seems to be changing too can be just as hard.
The silver lining is that there are some things you can do to help your kids through a divorce. Make no mistake. These aren’t miracle cures that will help your kids get over your divorce like it never happened, but following these tips could make things at least a little easier for your young ones.
Know the unique needs of each child
Every kid is different, and each has his or her own way of dealing with the news of your divorce. You need to understand the unique needs of each child and address them accordingly especially for teenagers. For example, if you have a kid who is really young, you won’t want to go into a lot of details regarding your divorce. The child wouldn’t be mature enough to handle the information. Furthermore, a little kid will likely be confused and scared about your divorce, requiring extra attention. However, with a teenager, you might be able to be more direct about your divorce, but don’t think that teens don’t need support too. Divorce is tough on children of all ages.
Talk to your kids about their emotions
Most kids don’t yet know how to express their emotions properly. That’s why it’s important that you be there for them and talk with them about what they’re feeling, particularly with something as moving as a divorce. It’s healthy for them to express their emotions and work through them. It may even be a good idea to consider using professional counseling services to help your kids cope. Otherwise, there are plenty of other online resources to help teach your children to express their feelings effectively (which is helpful even outside the scope of your divorce).
Let them know they aren’t the reason for your divorce
Kids have a tendency to blame themselves when their parents get divorced. It’s important that you make it abundantly clear to your children that they are not the reason you’re ending your marriage.
Give them the attention they need
During a divorce, your kids may need even more attention than usual. They’re dealing with a lot of new feelings right now, and they may even be questioning whether or not you love them anymore. It’s important that you give your kids the attention and love they need during this especially tough time.
Never badmouth your spouse to them
No matter how angry you might be with your soon to be ex-spouse, you can’t badmouth them in front of your kids. It’s not right to try to turn your children against your ex. They deserve to have healthy relationships with both of their parents, so make sure you really go out of your way to keep any harsh words about your ex out of conversations with your kids.