Divorce can be particularly difficult for children, no matter what their age. Unlike adults, they lack the tools to deal with the grief that comes with this major life change. Children may worry that they will lose their parents' love or feel that the divorce is somehow their fault. They may have difficulties adjusting to a new schedule or with transitioning between parents.
Luckily, this isn't a hopeless situation for parents. There are things you can do to help your children deal with the divorce and to ease their transition into a new routine.
Below are seven ways you can make divorce easier on your kids:
- Let them know they are loved – Assure your child that, no matter what happens, they are loved by both of their parents.
- Encourage open communication – Let your children know that you are open to having honest communication about the changes to your family. If possible, present the parenting plan to your children together.
- Keep conflict away from kids – Do your best to not fight in front of your children and never put them in the middle of an argument. Also, never ask them to pick sides or have them spy on the other parent for you.
- Allow access to their other parent – Children do better when they have close contact with both of their parents.
- Give them notice of upcoming changes –Try to give your children a few weeks’ notice before any major changes, such as a move to a new home or a parent moving out.
- Aim for smooth, peaceful transitions – No matter how you are feeling about the other parent, be civil when exchanging children between the two of you. If necessary to reduce tension, arrange for transitioning to occur in a neutral place.
- Send the right messages – Say goodbye with a smile so kids don’t feel guilty about leaving you for the other parent. Welcome them home warmly and be interested and supportive of anything they want to share.