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Helping My Children Cope with Divorce
The Beginning of the End
There comes a time in a married couple’s life when they must part ways. This article discusses the complexities and essentials of helping a child cope with divorce. This process is extremely stressful and taxing on all those involved. As the divorce itself takes place, there are often several issues that arise in helping a child cope with the divorce.
Here are some tips to aid in addressing these issues, as well as guiding the child or children through this difficult process.
Shut the Door to the Laundry Room
Kids are smart. Some are very smart. If one spouse is criticizing the other in front of the child, there is an uphill battle created from the very beginning in terms of keeping the respect for the other parent intact in the eyes of the child.
If and when there are problems related to the divorce itself the process, or the aftermath, keeps it away from the child. Text or call your friends, priest, pastor, milkman (not if he or she is the cause of the divorce), whomever… but you get the drift: keep it away from the child.
Keep the “Whys” Answered to a Minimum
It is natural for the children of divorce to saturate you as a parent with questions regarding the divorce. Inquisitive by nature even concerning the smallest of things, it is very natural for your child to want to know why Mommy and Daddy live in different houses.
All that being said, you as a parent must spare the dirty details. Even if presented in a calm and respectful manner, the more the children know about the inner workings of the divorce and the reasons behind the situation in general the more they will ask, and the more they will feel confused, therefore asking more, and the cycle shall just continue.
Ensure that the Child has Contacted Both Parents as Much as Possible
As the ideal world would have it, divorce would never happen. But when it does occur, the child must be able to maintain the emotional bond with both parents when possible, and as much as possible.
If the parents are able to share custody then this would be the ideal scenario. The child will be able to maintain some sense of stability in this manner. Therefore, this is vital to helping your child cope with divorce.
Maintain Activities that are Fun and Healthy
Playing the Wii all day is not healthy. For kids to release the increased stress in their lives that comes with divorce and all associated with it, you must maintain what physical activities wherein they already engage, in and possibly provide more than what is already happening in regards to their activities.
While you must balance the line between what is healthy and what is overkill, staying physically active is the best way for anyone, not just kids, to release their stress in a healthy manner. Organized sports, hiking, and swimming are all activities that are wholesome and aid in helping your child cope with divorce.
Don’t Replace Time and Attention with the Almighty Dollar
Even though most parents have good intentions when they choose to lavish their children with gifts and money, the wrong idea is sent when the other parent cannot do the same.
Whether or not this unequal monetary scenario is prevalent, children, in the long run, appreciate the long talks by the lake and the time spent baking cookies more than they do the showing of “green.” It is the concept that you care for them as a person during this difficult transition and upheaval in their lives.
Children do not Belong on the Chess Table
If you want to find something out about the other parent that you deem important, and cannot be asked directly of the other parent, do not employ or volunteer your children as pawns to find out information.
There are other ways to gain the sought information. By utilizing the children as “undercover agents,” you are unraveling the parent-child relationship on each side of the equation. On one hand, you are implying that the other parent is “evil,” or is hiding something.
On the other hand, you are demonstrating creating a situation where your children are becoming your snitch. And that creates too much of a lateral or friend-to-friend relationship with your child. Instead of a child-parent relationship.
Divorce and Toddlers: A Final Thought
Helping Children Cope with Divorce
Divorce is one of, if not the most painful life processes that society consistently encounters in their lives. Unfortunately, nowadays, it is the rule more than the exception.
Adapting the above ideas on “helping children cope with divorce” to your personal situation, along with many peers and family support, will aid you in helping your children to cope with divorce as much as possible.
- Focus on the Family – “How Could Divorce Affect My Kids?” http://www.divorceecorner.com/view/85927/Effects_of_divorce_on_children
- “Top 9 Ways to Helping Children Cope with Divorce.” Divorce and Toddlers; http://www.ilissabanhazlmft.com/articles/Top_9_Ways_to_Help_Children_Cope_with_Divorce.pdf
- Image Credit of divorce and toddlers: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bd/Javad_alizadeh_divorce-child.jpg