It’s hard for two people to separate especially if they have kids involved. The emotional toll on both previous partners is draining enough, adding to the pressure of trying to explain everything that is happening to a child. To help ease this pressure, seeking help is necessary.
There are different ways to seek help: from friends, family, or even professionals. For example, hiring a divorce attorney can help take care of legal matters while parents take care of family matters.
The most important thing to remember, though, is not to use the kids as a crutch. Some children may seem mature enough to understand what’s going on, but still, they are kids; they need their parents’ support more than parents need theirs, especially during a difficult time of separation.
Telling them about the situation
The best way to prepare a child for their parents’ separation is by being honest to them; this is translated to communicating with them about the divorce. When breaking the news to the kids, it is best if both partners are present.
BBC explains how parents should talk to kids about separation. It states that both partners must agree to a single narrative so as not to confuse the children. Children must know that whatever caused the separation must stay between their parents, but at the same time, it is not in any way the kids’ fault.
The BBC also adds that it is also important to assure the kids that they will remain a family whatever happens. The only thing that may change is their living arrangement and the time they can see one parent. In addition, the timing is as important as what parents are going to say to children. Make sure to break the news when children can easily process the information; this time must also give parents enough space to properly explain the divorce to the kids.
Kids will definitely have questions, and these questions must be answered as honestly as possible. For younger kids, keep explanations simple and clear.
Reacting to kid’s reaction
Different kids may have different reactions to their parents’ separation. Some kids may even display anxiety, depression, and negative behaviors. Sometimes, their academic performance may get affected, too.
Parents need to recognize that the children’s feelings are valid. Acknowledge their emotions, say sorry for being responsible for their feelings, and ask them what will make them feel better. As always, assuring them the love is still there from both parents.
Sometimes, children will try to hide their emotions and say that everything is okay. But when this happens, they release their sadness and anger in other ways; it may manifest in school or how they interact with friends. It can also manifest in their sleeping patterns and appetite. Assuring kids that it’s okay to be honest about their feelings will ease their stress.
Helping kids cope with the separation
Losing a whole family is definitely difficult, and mourning is part of the process. However, there are ways to make it easier for kids to cope with the situation.
As always, honestly communicating feelings with one another is key. Letting kids know that their feelings are legitimate is important. If they wish for their parents to reunite, let them know that it is okay to have those thoughts. Sometimes, adults need to separate; other times, separation is better than being together, which will benefit the entire family more.
In addition, parents going through separation need to take care of their health, too. The entire process of divorce is definitely exhausting and stressful; to take care of the kids, parents must ensure that they are emotionally and physically healthy. This will assure the kids that everything is well because their parents seem well.
Also, it’s important to remain civil with the ex-partner. Any animosity seen by the kids will alarm and stress them, which will not help them cope well with the divorce. In addition, regardless of the visitation schedule, each parent must be allowed to spend time with the kids so that they can still feel a sense of having both parents around all the time.
Being consistent when it comes to routines and schedules can also help children cope with the changes of the separation. In creating a schedule and routine, consider what the children want and what will be more comfortable and convenient for them.
In a divorce, there should be no competition between ex-partners. The real win is if they can successfully help their kids transition and get through this difficult time.