When you are going through a divorce and have children, the first thing on your mind is how you’re going to shield them from the worst of it. You want them to grow up happy and healthy, and the idea of a divorce seems to threaten this.
The thing you should know is that many children have gone through divorce and still grown up to be wonderful, well-adjusted adults. For every story of a horrible divorce you hear, there are dozens more where children were raised well between households. Here are three tips on how to help your children adjust, so they, too, can grow up happy.
1. Give them warning
To start with, make sure you give them warning. You don’t want to show up one day with the comment that they’re suddenly moving or not going home after school. It is best to be able to sit down with your children together with your spouse to talk about the impending divorce and how it may change their lives.
2. Have open communication
Another good reason to talk to your children ahead of time is so that they have time to discuss their feelings with you. Have good communication, so that they feel they can come to you with questions or concerns. Not all children adjust well to the idea of moving or living with only one parent, and others may be scared or confused. Be there and prepared to answer the questions they have when they want to talk.
3. Make them a part of the process
Finally, make your kids a part of the process. They’re losing all control in this situation, so if you can, it’s a great idea to have them help with choosing the new apartment or picking out furniture for a new bedroom. Having them take part in the process in a positive manner is a good way to help them understand that something constructive can come out of a frightening or upsetting situation.
These are just three ways you can help your children through a divorce. By being open to talking with them and being honest about how a divorce may affect them, your children will have more opportunities to express their feelings and have you help them cope. If you find that they are not adjusting well despite your best efforts, you may wish to contact a therapist or other professional for more assistance.