6 Tips to Help Your Child Through a Divorce
Regardless of the reason for your divorce, the process can be extremely difficult for your child to handle. From a child’s perspective, divorce tears their family apart and often forces them to choose sides in a contentious battle. To protect your child and their future, it’s very important to be honest with them and take the time to make sure they understand the situation.
1. Avoid Blaming Your Spouse
It’s no secret that divorce can be a very contentious process, and it’s very natural to assign blame to your spouse. However, it is vital that you do not share these feelings with your child. Your child should be able to love both parents without feeling guilty, or they may become depressed or develop antisocial behavior. Your child is not your therapist or sounding board.
2. Be Honest
It’s important to be up-front with your child. While they may not know exactly what’s going on, children can often tell if a parent is lying or trying to hide information from them. While it may be a difficult conversation for you to have, you should always be straightforward with your child and give them simple, honest information about your divorce.
3. Encourage Communication
Just as you should be honest with your child, you should always encourage your child to be honest with you. Ask them how they feel and listen attentively. Reassure them with simple, direct answers to their questions, and help them formulate questions that they may not know how to ask. It’s also vital to let them know that it’s okay to be sad, angry, or confused about the divorce.
4. Reassure Your Child
One of the most important ways to help your child handle a divorce is to reassure them that it is not their fault. Nearly all children feel some degree of guilt for their parents’ divorce, which is why you must regularly reassure them that they are not responsible.
You should also reassure your child that they will not need to worry about food, shelter, or clothing. If you are a single mother, it can often be helpful to reassure your kids that there is a plan to protect them in case of a fire, break-in, or for young children, those monsters under the bed.
5. Do Not Fight With Your Spouse In Front of Your Children
This goes hand-in-hand with not blaming your spouse. When children see their parents fighting, it can cause a great deal of emotional turmoil and cause them to withdraw, become depressed, or act out in destructive ways. While you may harbor resentment for your spouse, you should both agree to present a unified front for the children.
6. Read & Discuss a Book on Divorce with Your Child
A book that is specifically geared toward children can help your child better understand and cope with a divorce. You should read the book together, and then take the time to discuss the information and answer any questions they might have.
Divorce is difficult on children and adults alike. If you need compassionate legal representation, call our Austin divorce lawyers at (512) 420-0555.