Don’t ignore your children’s needs, they really aren’t as resilient as you may think.
When a couple decides that their marriage has come to an end it can be confusing, stressful and heartbreaking for all involved. When children are involved, these emotions can be amplified as the shock settles in and anger grows. Whatever the age of the child, they are likely to go through a whole range of feelings towards themselves and their parents and are likely to have a lot of questions.
How Children Feel During Divorce and What They Need From You
Emotions experienced by children during divorce.
A natural emotion that most people experience when going through a divorce is that of grief, and this is no exception where children are concerned. They are likely to grieve for the loss of the marriage as well as the life that they knew and this can be a painful process, however, there are things that you can do to help and potentially create a closer bond to their parents in the long run.
For many children, they will feel that their life is being turned upside down when they discover that their parents are separating. The break-up of a family is a traumatic experience and so children will need a lot of patience and reassurance. Consistent routines can provide a feeling of stability throughout a period of uncertainty, and reaffirms the parent’s role as a stable presence in their lives.
Your children’s needs during divorce.
Divorces come in different forms, and no matter what your feelings are towards your partner, maintaining a civilized relationship in front of your children can avoid some of the stress and anguish that fighting can create. Your children need to feel loved throughout the process, and protecting them from some of the vitriol can help to do this.
It can be easy for a parent to become consumed by the divorce, but it is vital not to neglect your children and their feelings. Keep in contact with your child, either by talking or by text or email if it is easier for them to express their feelings in this way. This helps the child to see that they are still just as important to both of you.
Arguing about the children can make them feel that the divorce is their fault, so keep this behind closed doors. Just because the two of you no longer want to set eyes on each other, it is important to remember that your children will still love both parents just as much as ever, and will want to spend time with both of you. Try not to stand in their way or complicate this, as it can make the child feel like they need to take sides.
Using your children as messengers is also going to create a lot of mixed emotions. By talking directly to each other, your child is less likely to feel caught in the middle of any negotiations or arguments. Talking about your partner in front of your child should also be a positive thing, as they do not want to hear what drove your relationship apart and feel that they should share your feelings.
No matter how stressful, emotional or damaging your divorce may be, you need to think carefully about what your children see, hear and feel. By considering how you behave and setting an example for them to follow, you can make the process much more bearable for them and avoid long-term resentment and pain.