A divorce is just as tragic and scary for your child as it is for you, and possibly even more so. Your children can suffer. The process of your family changing can hurt them on several different levels. They are likely to experience many negative and scary emotions that they’ve never encountered before.
Help your child deal with their emotions following divorce with these strategies:
1. Recognize your child’s emotions and thoughts. Your child needs to feel comfortable expressing their thoughts about the divorce.
- Children can feel hurt long after the divorce papers are signed and the court dates end. It’s important to recognize their feelings and work with them. Children also need to feel loved by both parents, so you want to reassure them that you still love them.
- Establish an open dialogue with the kids. Feeling comfortable expressing their questions makes it easier for your child to handle the situation.
- It’s important not to belittle or diminish a child’s emotions. They may differ from how you feel about the situation, so give your child room to express deep thoughts.
2. Protect your child’s emotional health by working together with your ex. Your child needs to be a priority after a divorce, so they don’t feel hurt or neglected. It’s crucial to find a way to work together.
- Stay mature and remember you’re a parent who needs to protect your children. By working with your ex, you can establish guidelines to help address your child’s emotions.
- You may want to keep communication with your ex open, so you can discuss the child’s needs without lawyers.
3. Create rules to protect your child during new relationships. After a divorce, you may be ready to start dating again or even remarry.
- Children can have a difficult time adjusting to the idea that their parents are dating again. It’s not easy for them to see you with a new partner, and their feelings may be hurt. They may begin to act out, question you, or avoid the new partner.
- It’s important not to force a child to have a relationship with your new partner. Children may need more time to handle these types of situations.
- You also don’t want to force your child to call the new partner mother or father. Your child may not be ready for this type of label. Instead, your new partner can earn the title over time.
4. Avoid creating guilt trips. You don’t want your child to feel guilty about spending time with your ex and enjoying it. This will hurt their feelings and make them even more confused. Instead, encourage your child to feel happy visiting both parents.
- Children often feel responsible for the divorce. But your divorce is not their fault. It’s important to help them understand that they’re not responsible so they don’t have the additional burden of feeling guilty.
- You want your children to be able to see your ex without feeling like they’re betraying you. Children should look forward to their visitations. You don’t want to make them feel like they have to choose one parent to love and one parent to reject.
It’s important to pay attention to your child’s emotions after a divorce. You can help your children deal with their feelings in a healthy way so you can all move forward with your lives.