The emotional strain of a divorce is never limited to the former spouses involved. Divorce creates a confusing and distressing time for children as well. With the frequency of divorce today, more children grow up juggling households. They have to find balance between two literal and metaphorical houses. Your child may not currently understand the deeper emotional rifts that have led to the divorce, but they will always ultimately feel the absence of a once stronger family bond. If you and your former spouse have decided to continue co-parenting, here are a few tips to ease the transition for your child:
- Above all, do not confide in your child about damaging circumstances of divorce and do not demean your former spouse in their presence. Find a good therapist to confide in. The maintenance of a healthy relationship with both parents is vital to your child’s emotional well-being.
- Maintain a healthy family relationship. Although your marriage has ended, your family still exists. Remaining an involved parent should always be a priority. Set an example for your children on how to move on from past conflicts. Be as cordial as possible with your former spouse.
- Solve disagreements concerning your child privately, peacefully, and efficiently. Your child is never to be used as a bargaining chip. Remember that both parents should be working towards the benefit of the child. Solicitation of input from your child is almost always inappropriate.
- Remain as consistent as possible in both households. This ranges from doing your best to maintain similar household rules (such as bedtimes and school work). Children thrive where there are predictable, stable systems in place.
- Allow your child to grow at a comfortable pace. Don’t force changing environments on your child. Let them mentally adjust post-divorce. Talk to your child and explain any frustrations they may have. If your child is experiencing uncontrollable emotions or unusual behavior, take them to a therapist who has experience dealing with children of divorce.
Originally posted Monday, July 22, 2013 4:12 PM.