Divorce is never an easy time. Even when two parents are happy to go their separate ways and get a healthy divorce, it is not easy for the children involved to be split between two homes. One thing is for certain, during a divorce your children are going to need to be comforted.
Age Doesn’t Matter
Some parents think that as long as they separate early on that it is not going to affect their children. This is not true. Even babies are able to recognize when a familiar face is not around as often. Many times parents think that they do not need to discuss this type of stuff with their children and that the children are not going to be affected by it because they are not going to remember any of it.
Talking Might Not Need to Be the First Step
So many parents think that the first thing that they should do during a divorce is sit with their children and talk to them about it. While this talk does need to happen, it might not always be the most appropriate first step. What parents should be doing first is taking the time to look for signs of stress in their children. They should be taking the time to soothe their children and letting them know that they are loved and how important that they are. It is important that both parents are on the same page about how they are going to discuss these things and interact with the children.
Look to Biology
There are certain to be some biological signs that you can lean on to make sure that you are doing the right thing with your divorce. Look to see how your children are behaving and feeling. If your children start chronically complaining about pain like a stomach ache, then you might want to consider what affect your divorce is having on them. Sometimes when children are scared or feel emotionally challenged, they might choose to react to physical pain more than the actual emotional issue. Other things you can watch for are whether your children become lethargic, have headaches, have a decrease and/or increase in appetite, or exhibit signs of an eating disorder.
Things to Remember as You Comfort Your Children
There are many things that you can do during the process of comforting your children that can help you to have a successful divorce that will show the least amount of trauma to your children. The following are some basic tips that can help you as you attempt to reconstruct your life while keeping your children’s needs met.
Never Use the Words “It Will Be Okay”
Going through a divorce is hard. You need to make sure that you acknowledge this with your children. If you tell them that everything is going to be okay and they feel conflicted, then your children might not be able to express anxieties and fears in the right way.
Talk Openly About Their Fears
One of the things that you will want to do is take the time to ask your children what they are afraid of. The next thing that you will want to do is engage them and discuss their fears in full.
Allow Children to Have Some Control in Their Lives
Finally, work together with your co-parent to find healthy ways to allow your children to experience control in their lives. One of the things that you might want to do is consider what aspects of their lives that you feel like they should have control over. Allow your children to pick out decorations for their new room or give them each a night to plan a family day with you. Doing these small things help children feel in control when they otherwise might not feel in control at all.
While it can be hard to handle a divorce for anyone, children are often left behind feeling emotionally raw and afraid. Being able to look at the signs and understanding how to comfort your children is key to successfully managing a divorce and having healthy children.