Even if you talked with your children to prepare them for your divorce, they may still be struggling to cope. In those instances, how can you best help your children adjust?
8 Strategies for Helping Your Child(ren) Adjust After a Divorce
Some strategies will work better for different kids, depending on their personality and age. As their parent, you will know how to best help them cope after your divorce. Here are some strategies you might employ:
- Be consistent. After your divorce, you should maintain your custody agreement. Sticking to a custody schedule can help you and your children establish a “new normal.” If your ex-spouse is sometimes a no-show or is late at pick-ups or drop-offs, have a plan for what you will do (i.e., a dinner out, more family time, etc.).
- Take note of their security items. If you and your ex-partner share custody, when your kids switch houses, be sure to bring their favorite toy, blanket, or other comfort items. Doing so will help them feel more secure in these transitions.
- Acknowledge their feelings. Verbally, you should let your child know that you understand how hard this transition is for them, and you. Validating their feelings can help them feel seen. They may also be able to better understand and process their feelings after they are recognized.
- Remain positive. Children take cues from their parents on how to act. In some cases, your child may mimic your actions and feelings. The more positive you are, the better.
- Offer them a safe space to process negative emotions. While positivity is important, it’s unrealistic to act like everything is “great” all the time. Let your child express their negative emotions and help them find positive ways to work through the negative emotions. To help them process their emotions, you may also consider reading books, watching movies, or talking with a therapist who specializes in family relations.
- Avoid fighting in front of your kids. Sometimes you and your ex may have heated disagreements, but don’t fight in front of your child if possible. You should also avoid talking badly about your ex-partner in front of them. They may feel like they are stuck in the middle or take on feelings of animosity towards them as well.
- Encourage them to spend time with friends and/or peers. While your child needs to spend time with other family members, you should also ensure they spend time with peers or friends. Either enroll them in an extracurricular activity or arrange for them to spend time with friends. This can be a fun break and confidence booster. Also, for older kids, friends can provide a safe place to vent.
- Remind them how much you love them and that the divorce is not their fault. You can never tell your child enough how much you love them—in word and deed. Prioritize quality time and words of affirmation for your child. Also, remind them that you and your ex will always be there for them because you’ll always be family.
While divorce can affect all involved, your child(ren) will eventually adjust. It may take time and the help of skilled professionals, but they will learn to cope and even accept the divorce.
At The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc, we dedicate ourselves to our clients 100%. Our clients have our wealth of experience at their disposal throughout their entire divorce and/or child custody case. For quality legal aid, contact our office online or at (949) 577-7935.