Getting a divorce is always a hard pill to swallow. The amount of anguish and distress that can arise from the termination of a marriage can take a toll on someone and even lead them down a spiral of depression. However, children, whose parents are getting a divorce, could also be affected by the ongoings of a separation.
It is crucial to always address the pain points that children may have when they are present alongside parents who are about to get divorced. Children are not well-equipped to process such complex emotions at their level and may need your help to digest certain facts and understand stinging emotions. The way you choose to speak to your child about a divorce can also assist them in trying to figure out some of these feelings that they may be experiencing.
#1 Be Honest
Do not beat around the bush, do not sugar-coat things and most importantly, do not give them false hopes. Most parents may be surprised to find out that children are quite capable of understanding such grim concepts, if you are willing to lay out the truth to them. Tell them that you and your partner have been facing difficulty in your relationship and were no longer in love with each other anymore. This would help your child understand the reasoning behind your separation and aids their process of coming to terms with it.
#2 Tell them Together
If you have more than one child, a group announcement would be quite beneficial. As much as they may scratch and claw at one another on usual days, the sibling bond would enable them to support each other during such a complicated and trying period in their lives. As a group, they would also be able to discuss the possible reasons as to why this separation may have occurred, coupled with your side of the story. Together, they would be able to cope with the changes and get over the divorce, fairly quickly.
#3 Help them Process their Feelings
Children are not too great hiding their emotions and if you begin to notice signs of distress and change in behavior in your child, it could be that they may be facing difficulty coping with the fact of the divorce. Talk to them and find out what exactly is bothering their little selves. Incorporate new activities into your child’s life, such as making them attend a music class or go for an art course as a method of “distraction” from the actual cause of their unhappiness. Being with new groups of people can help them find new friends to fill in the gap left by the divorce of their parents.
#4 Discuss the Future
For a child caught in the midst of their parents’ divorce, the future can seem bleak and unhappy. Explain to your child that not much will change and that they would still be able to meet both their parents. Assure them that both mom and dad would be always there for them and will still play a big role in their life, despite being separated from each other. Assuring children in this way would prevent them from overthinking the situation and ultimately drop into depression.
#5 Be in A Familiar Environment
When announcing the bad news, it would be best to do it in an environment that is familiar to your child. This reduces their stress levels and they would be able to use the familiar venue as a subconscious consolation to the impactful news that you have just delivered to them. Announcing such things, surrounded by close family members, at home, is probably the best way to break the news of a separation to your kids.
Divorce can be hard on you but it can be even harder on your child. Be sure to keep an eye out for any emotional cues and changes in behavior in your child. If you suspect that your child is hanging with the wrong crowd or may be involved in illegal activities as a result of your divorce, a simple phone lookup would be able to provide you with their call logs, to see the kind of people they have been contacting in the wake of you and your partner’s divorce.