4 Ways to Help Your Children Through a Divorce
Divorce lawyers, child custody battles, split assets; there’s so many things that go on during a separation that are scary and unfamiliar to your kids. No doubt you are going through your own mental battles and emotional ups and downs but don’t forget that your children are also going to be severely affected by everything that is going on. It’s important to make sure that you attend to their emotional needs during this time. They need you. This might be difficult for you because of what you are going through yourself but if you are not there for your children during this time, it could affect them for the rest of their lives. Here are a few ways that you can put aside the divorce forms and custody lawyers and spend time helping your kids out.
Devote an hour to them.
If you can do more, then do it. But take at least one hour a week for each child and take them out for ice cream or to the park or somewhere of their choosing, depending on their age. Use this time to talk to them and let them ask anything from questions about the divorce lawyers to how holidays are going to be spent. They may not want to talk about the divorce at all and you should respect that to. Let them have control of that hour. They probably are feeling very out of control and so to help them out with that, let them make all the choices about where to go, what to eat and what to talk about just for that hour.
If you are faced with a decision between your child and something else, always choose your child. The more you pick them over other things and spend time with them, the more secure and safe they will feel with you. Pushing them to the side will only make them feel more frightened about everything that is going on. They might even feel like you and your former spouse do not love them anymore. This is a very normal reaction from children. By prioritizing them over other things, you are showing them that you do still love them with all of your heart. That is what they need to know more than anything right now.
Hold in your emotions.
Children glean from their parents’ emotions. However they perceive your feelings is how they are going to allow their emotions to act. Not only that, they will take it a step further. If they see you moping around and acting upset or sad, they may have full on anxiety or panic attacks. The same goes for the opposite emotions. If they see that you are dealing well and moving forward and being happy then they will be able to do the same. With time, they may even be able to see the positive things about the divorce. They may not really understand now but eventually they will, if you can save face.
Be available to them.
After a long day of working and dealing with the divorce lawyers, you probably just want to come home and soak in a hot tub or lay down in a dark room, alone. While you do need to make sure you take care of yourself, your priority right now needs to be being available to them. Even if that means sitting on the couch and inviting them to watch a movie with you. That way you can be with them but still relax and shut off your brain. The important part is being available and approachable. Let your kids know that they can talk to you at any time. They may not take the opportunity right away but they will come around.
The divorce process is usually a complicated, messy time that involves divorce lawyers and papers and all kinds of things. Even if you are lucky enough to be having a civilized divorce, that doesn’t mean that your children are not still having a hard time. Make sure that you are spending time with them, validating their feelings, listening to their opinions and protecting them from anything that they shouldn’t have to go through.