Divorce comes with stress and grief, not only for the spouses but the children as well. Children grow up expecting love, guidance, support, and stability from both parents. However, when their parents separate, they experience many emotions, from anxiety, abandonment, and confusion. It is common to find spouses consumed in their feelings to a point they do not consider how the children feel. Discussed below are ways parents can support their children during and after a divorce, ensuring they protect their mental health.
Talk to Your Children
One of the most challenging conversations you can have with your children is telling them you are separating from your spouse. Some children are usually aware that something has been off for a while. For some, it will come as a shock, and others usually feel relieved. However, for all children, this is a significant change they are about to undergo. If you can, have that conversation with your soon-to-be-ex. It would be better if they got the news from both parents together. Give them the basic details of the divorce and avoid throwing blame as that information can hurt rather than build the child. You can also inform them about how life will be from there on to know what to expect.
Avoid Arguing Infront of Kids
Couples argue a lot, especially when they are about to divorce but live in the same house. During that period, it is easy to find fault with your spouse, even for minor issues. It can be hard to hide pain and anger as human beings. However, arguing in front of the kids can affect them, especially if the arguments are nasty. However, try to reduce the fights or finds ways to stop fighting with the kids present. For example, you can choose a shop or a park to have these discussions.
Create a Parenting Plan
This can start with deciding which parent will be staying with the kids, what the visiting schedule will look like and how child support will be paid. If you choose a 50/50 time split, you have to decide which parent will be with the child at what time. If only one parent is given custody and the other one visitation rights, choose what time the other parent can visit the child. When it comes to child support, the court usually decides on various factors like the income of both parents. However, both parents need to support their child financially if possible. If the parent paying the child support has missed payments for different reasons, they can file a petition to get child support arrears dismissed. It could be either they lost their job, or they fell ill.
Help Your Child Process the Loss
After you have addressed the issue of divorce, your child will now need time to process what is going on. They need to adjust to a life of staying without both parents or the occasional visits from one parent. To them, this is a loss, and they need help to grief. You can hire a counselor who will help them cope with the loss. Additionally, your child may not open up about how they are feeling towards you, but with a therapist, they will feel this is a neutral party and may open up. Another way you can help your child process the loss is by listening to their concerns. Some have questions like how their living arrangements will be, and so you can discuss this with them.
A significant change like this can be tough for your kids. However, with love and emotional support, they can heal. As a parent, you also need to find the strength to protect your kids from the negative consequences of a divorce.