Divorce can be quite stressful and traumatic for children, if not handled properly. This delicate and sensitive issue can be nerve-racking, not only for the parents, but also for the children. They get confused and often blame themselves for this difficult stage. Many a times, this triggers the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response, leading to mixed emotions like anger, frustration and sadness and if the child is unable to express these emotions clearly, this can further lead to feeling of extreme powerlessness and helplessness. Any kind of conflict between parents can be the basis of traumatic stress for kids, which can last well beyond childhood. They become confused and puzzled as to what their life will be like, after the separation. The correct way to handle such a delicate situation is by communicating the situation to them clearly and properly, ensuring them all the support and safety that they require and expect from their parents. Given below are some tips that will help you know how to help your children cope with divorce.
Helping Your Kids Cope With Divorce
- First and foremost, ensure your child that whatever happens, both his mother and father will be there for him/her at all times. Whenever he/she needs you, he/she just has to convey the same.
- It is very important to let your children know that they are not responsible for the divorce in any way and that they should not put the blame on themselves.
- Always state the truth and be honest with your children, as far as possible. This way, they will know that they are being taken seriously and their thoughts and feelings are being considered.
- Encourage your kids to express their feelings, by putting them into words. Dormant or repressed feelings can be the base for anger and frustration later on. If you allow them to voice their thoughts and emotions at the initial stage, there won’t be much confusion later on.
- Always be a good listener and provide comfort through words, whenever you feel there is a need. Your kids will immediately respond to this and you will be able to see their confusions and anger fade away.
- Helping your children combat this traumatic situation will be possible only when you learn to manage your own stress successfully and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Often, separation or divorce is accompanied by custody and financial issues, which can really take its toil over people, draining them completely. Try to find ways that will help you keep yourself healthy - emotionally and physically.
- Avoid blaming your partner or calling him/her names in front of your kids. You should remember that for your child, both parents are equally important and hearing one of them abusing the other will definitely have a negative impact on his/her mental well being. This is especially vital if it is an ‘at fault’ divorce, where the prime causes are hurtful events like infidelity.
- You can also seek help, in case you are alone and you feel that you can’t handle the situation by yourself. There are many support groups who talk to people and help them deal with such sensitive issues. Apart from this, you can seek help from online resources, your family doctor or even your religious leader. To maintain the health boundaries of your kid, you can also council a professional therapist or an analyst.