Separation is not easy for kids mainly because they do not fully understand what’s going on. Here are some ways of helping your children handle your separation or divorce.
They may feel they are responsible for their parent’s separation or divorce. They worry about things never going back to normal again or the way they used to be. As a parent, it is normal to worry about the impact that divorcing your partner has on your children.
If both of you decide temporal separation is best while you figure out a way forward, thinking about the best ways of helping your kids cope with the separation is important because your decision also affects them.
Only tell your kids what they need to know.
Talking negatively to your kids about your partner or blaming your spouse for the separation will only worsen the pain already felt by your kids. The only way of helping them handle the fact that home, as they know it will no longer be the same, is to avoid blaming each other or arguing in their presence. In addition to that, make sure you only tell your kids what they need to know. Do not overwhelm them with the unpleasant details or happenings that led to the separation or divorce.
Here are some ways of helping your kids handle separation or divorce.
- Tell them the separation is only temporary.
If you and your partner have decided separation is the best route while you figure things out make sure you tell your kids that the move is only temporary. Explain to them that whatever happens after spending some time apart is not their fault.
- Listen to their concerns.
Listening to the concerns that your kids have will aid in helping them handle the separation or divorce. So, do not take their concerns or feelings lightly. Instead, address any concerns they have and reassure them that their worries are valid but they can still count on both of you to be there for them. Tell them how much you love them and let them know that both of you will always love them.
Some of the feelings that may be felt by your kids include anger, sadness, and frustration. Remember to respect their feelings and talk to them about the way they feel. Say “I understand why you feel that way” and don’t forget to check on them from time to time.
- Help them understand why you have decided to get a divorce.
Avoid talking separately to your kids about sensitive matters if you want a positive outcome. Talk to your partner about how you are going to tell your kids about the divorce. Both of you must agree with each other when explaining to them what divorcing means and make sure you agree on important arrangements that need to be made. For instance, a calendar highlighting when each parent will be spending time with them. Once you draw up a plan, aim to keep things as normal as they can be. Having a normal routine and sticking to it will give them a sense of security. It will make them feel cared for by both parents and it is a great way of comforting them.
- Assure your kids that you do not hate each other.
Most kids assume that their parents divorcing means they hate each other and often jump to the conclusion that they are responsible for making sure they get their parents back together again. Assure your kids that you do not hate each other and let them know that the decisions you make are between the two of you because you know what’s best.
- Maximize the time you have with them.
One way of helping your children cope with your divorce is by maximizing the time you spend with them. Help them with their homework, do fun activities together, and always attend school events.