Divorces are definitely not pleasant and can drain one in more ways than one. 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. Kids also feel that stress and the impact of it all can last a really long time. Children go through all the stages of grief and if this goes unchecked, the child can get stuck on one of the emotions ad this can have adverse effects on their studies, and general life even way into adulthood. 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. Listen to your child to ensure that your child knows that their opinion matters and that they are not insignificant. Ensure you have maintained a healthy relationship with your kids and they will keep you posted on their feelings along the way which you can work out together.
Then you shall need to break the news to the child in person. Having both parents present this is very important. 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.
Kids will have to react but not all at the same time and you should acknowledge this. Knowing this, you should be ready to help them through it and understand how they react. They should know and feel that you care about their feelings and that they are valid and it is okay for them to be upset. You will realize that not all kids will react as you expect them too because some of them will keep their feelings hidden and act like they are okay. These kids either want to please you as the parent or they just are not ready to deal with all these difficult feelings. Give them assurance that whenever they are ready to share what they feel, you will hear them out.
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.