Board Certified Counselor
One of the biggest concerns that many people have during or after a divorce is how the situation will affect their children.
Divorce can be very traumatic for children and if parents are not cooperative, matters can only become worse. It is difficult for children to verbally express their feelings and they may show their pain and confusion in other ways.
Sometimes their grades will slip, sleep patterns may be disrupted, they may become more anxious, and/or cry more frequently. (Note: Always consult with your family doctor if you notice any symptoms that are out of the ordinary.)
Here are five tips that can help ease the stress and anxiety that your children may experience.
1. Comfort and remind them how much you love them.
Most children are not able to fully conceptualize the impact of divorce. There are many things that may be out of your control, but what you can make sure of is how you your children feel. They need to feel loved and comforted by both parents.
2. Help them to feel secure and safe.
Divorce is full of changes and often children can feel confused by everything that is going on. In many situations, they will be living in two homes as opposed to one and sometimes they even have to change schools, make new friends, and re-adjust to a new way of living. This is a lot for them to handle, so it is utterly important they feel secure and their parents have their best interests in mind.
3. Do not argue in front of children.
It is important to keep the issues that you may have with your former spouse between the two of you without putting your children in the middle. In addition, try not to speak ill of your former spouse to your children as this can cause the child to feel victimized and even more confused.
4. Keep a consistent schedule.
Although divorce is a disruption to the entire family’s lives, try to keep routines and activities in place so that the children do not feel the burden.
5. Allow time to heal.
Divorce is a lengthy process and healing usually cannot take place until everything is finalized and all the new living arrangements have been established.
The healing process does take time, but time, good parenting, and consistency will help your children move forward and re-adjust to their new life.
Lisa Brown, MA, LPC, NCC, is a practicing therapist who helps people overcome life transitions specifically related to loss. For more information, visit her website www.counseling-helps.org.