Divorce takes a lot out of one and is utterly unpleasant. In real sense though, the children are the casualties of any divorce. It is not only the couple that has to endure the divorce but the kids as well. The impact of divorce on kids can at times be felt a long time afterwards. The stages of grief are felt on the child as well and in some instances, the child can get stuck on one emotion all the way to adulthood if the divorce is not handled well. So, the decision to get a divorce has become irreversible and it has to go through given the circumstances, how can couples help their children deal with divorce?
The first thing you must do is to listen. Letting your child know that they are being heard all through makes them feel significant despite the divorce. Listening to your child will alert you on the stages of grief that they are in and you can work it out together.
It is also important to break the news of the divorce to your child in person. This has to be done by both parents at the same time. Discuss the discussion between the two of you before taking it to your child as this will ensure all feelings of hurt, anger, and blame are kept out of the discussion. Understand what co-parenting is and what it entails beforehand including the child support guidelines that are in place. Answer the questions smartly and help your child understand what is happening.
The kids will definitely react and in different times and ways. Knowing this, you should be ready to help them through it and understand how they react. You should let them know that it is okay for them to be upset and let them know that you care about how they feel. Not all kids will react as soon as the divorce is finalized but they might hold to their feelings a little bit longer. This is an attempt to please you as the parent or as they avoid to feel the difficult feelings of sadness and hurt. Give them time and let them know that when they are ready, you are there for them.
After the initial reaction, you should help them cope with reality. Don’t take away their right to hope that things will be back to normal and mom and dad will be back together. They miss the kind of family they were used to and hoped for. It is important to let them know that it is okay for them to hope but don’t give them false promises. It is important that you tell the truth of the matter but help them cope with it.