Children suffer when their parents divorce, although some will handle it better than others. You can do several things as parents to ease their suffering and help them recover sooner.
The most important thing is to remember is that even though you are separating as spouses, you still need to work together as parents.
The worse your divorce, the worse it will be for your child
Here are some things to consider:
- Minimize the conflict: If you notice your kid put on their headphones, retreat to their room or turn up the volume on the TV every time you and your spouse “discuss” things, take the hint. They are telling you it hurts their ears to hear their mom and dad arguing. If it hurts their ears, it will hurt them inside even more. Try to keep the heated discussions for when the kids are elsewhere. Or agree to a truce, where you accept that you are no longer compatible and promise to stop pushing each other’s anger buttons.
- Set aside time for your child: Children can feel forgotten about in a divorce if their parents are too busy sorting out things or too stressed to be fun to be with. You might be having a tough time, but so are they and they are less well equipped to handle it.
- Think about what is best for your child: Courts consider what is in the child’s best interest when making custody decisions. You, as parents, can help your child by thinking in the same way. For example, your ex turns up late to pick up the child again. You decide to teach them a lesson by turning up late the next time when you know they have a crucial business meeting. It might sound fun, yet consider how that will affect your child if their parent is pacing around the room, stressing that you have not shown up.
Having help to navigate the divorce process can take some of the weight from your shoulders. It will leave you with more time and energy to dedicate to helping your kids adjust.