How to help a child deal with divorce? Does anyone really know the answer to that question? Every family is different and every child is different. Divorce is hard on you and your family, and when handled badly it can really affect the children's mental health now and in the future. There are ways to handle divorce with children in a less problematic way and there is hope that you can do the right for you, while still not affecting children as negatively as what's common or known.
So, here's how to help children cope with divorce:
Talk to your children adapting according to their age
One of the important things that must be taken care of when the parents are going through separation is how they tell their children, in order to minimize any harm or trauma it could cause them. This highly depends on their age and their ability to understand that concept of separation. Whether or not they should tell the kids and how highly depends on their age.
- Children that are only two years old or younger are highly attached to the mother and father, and it's hard for them to process or understand what's happened. You don't need to tell them, the most important thing to do is give them time and love. They need to feel safe and loved because they might not understand what's happening, but that doesn't mean the change isn't affecting them. It could still make them anxious, even if they're not aware or you can't tell either. It is crucial to give them a lot of care and love and not to make any sudden changes in what they're used to.
- If they're 5 years old or younger, they need support. This is an age where they might actually blame themselves for the separation, even if it's subconsciously. So be careful and make sure they're spending a lot of time with both of you so they can feel that sense of family that they need.
- But they're 6 or older, their behavior can start to change with those around them and they may become more aggressive because they wants to their anger. This could be contained by providing them with the support and love that they need, and the father and mother should speak with them honestly and tell him the reason behind the separation while maintaining respect and kindness towards the other person.
- If your children are in their teens, things get difficult because they're usually very sensitive, and can be prone to depression and anxiety. So it important to pay close attention to their behavior and give them time to process and accept it, while giving them the space to come talk openly and comfortable with both of you, with our forcing them into anything.
Maintain a good relationship with your partner after the divorce
Dealing with your partner after a divorce is difficult, but there are some situations that must be handled intelligently, especially when it comes to your children and their mental health. The more your children feel your love and respect for your partner even after separation, the better their lives will be and the less negative impact the separation will cause.
- Speak well of your ex in front of the children.
- Do not force the child to choose between you.
- Do not use the child to harm or defeat the other person.
- Do not ask the child to give you information about your ex's life.
- Do not talk about living the children's living arrangements and problems, with your ex, in front of the children.
- Do not talk to the child about financial matters or problems caused by the break up.
Be prepared to answer these questions and/or others
- Who will I live with?
- Will I still go to my school?
- Will I move somewhere else?
- Will I still see my friends?
- Can I still do my favorite activities?
You have to be honest when dealing with your child, I know it might be difficult and they could also be anxious and scared because of this new unfamiliar experience. That's why it's important to try and gather all your strength when dealing with your children and give them the strength and support they may need, especially after the separation stage.
Helping the children cope
The vast majority of children feel lonely after a family break-up and think that they can restore the relationship between their father and mother by talking to them. You can handle this well by honest with them about what you're both going through at the moment, while keeping it respectful, kind and civil. Keep their days full of activities and make sure you have family gatherings so that the transition isn't a shock for them and so that they don't feel like they've lost the sense of family. Try to keep family gathering a constant things always.
If your child's mental health is suffering...
If you notice that your child is going through a difficult time and that they're struggling with their mental health, even if they don't address it or notice it, make sure you provide help and support for them. You can take them to see a child psychiatrist that they're comfortable with or ask for a psychiatrist or counselor's advice. This is important to help handle the problem or trauma the correct way so it doesn't cause them pain in the future as well.
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