All children handle their parents’ divorce differently. A child will handle changes in their life in a certain way depending on their age, level of attachment, maturity and personality. While some children could be severely affected by their parents’ divorce, others will carry on with daily life as though nothing changed.
You should always make time to sit down with your child and explain to them the changes that are going to occur. If you have multiple children, you may want to have separate conversations with each of them so it is possible to tailor your explanation to their age and to address the individual concerns that they have. The following are some other ways that you can help your child through a divorce, regardless of their age.
Keep the complexities of the divorce away from your children
Regardless of whether your child is 18 months or 18 years, they should not be exposed to the complex aspects of divorce. If you and your divorcing spouse are arguing about the property division or child custody, have these conversations in an environment away from your children. Similarly, you should not deprecate your divorcing spouse in front of your child. No matter what they have done, they are still your child’s other parent, and speaking negatively about them will only create a conflict in your child’s mind.
Keep your child’s routine stable
In your child’s life, things should be “business as usual” throughout the divorce process. If your child goes to soccer practice each week, for example, make sure that this continues, even if you are feeling overwhelmed by the divorce. Maintaining structure in your child’s life can help them emotionally.
Your children should know that there is no question that they cannot or should not ask. You may want to make time for your child to ask questions in a safe environment, for example, in a weekly family meeting. Make sure that all issues can be spoken about and that nothing feels like a taboo subject.
Going through a divorce can be a challenging time for any family. Do what is right for your children by not being afraid to ask for support.