Every child responds differently to their parents’ divorce. It’s a big adjustment, and they can find it difficult to get used to the transition. Children may lash out and become defiant or withdrawn while they’re trying to process the change.
As parents, it’s important to support them as much as possible. They can’t get through the transition alone. You may have clients struggling to juggle divorce proceedings, mediation and contact arrangements, all the while trying to make sure their children are okay. That’s why this week, we’re sharing some top tips for parents to help their children build resilience after divorce.
Show them unconditional love and care
Children might blame themselves for their parents divorce. Parents need to reassure their children that it’s not their fault and they’re still loved, no matter what. During times of readjustment, children will need to be reminded of that.
Make sure you’re showing it too. After all, actions speak louder than words, and little acts of love and care will go a long way. Knowing they’re still valued and supported helps children cope with the transition. They have someone they trust to go to if they’re feeling low, scared or confused.
It’s even better if you can build a positive network of support for you and the children. Parents going through a divorce, especially if it's high conflict, will be going through a lot themselves. Sometimes, they might be emotionally burnt out. If they can reach out to trusted friends and family, not only do they have support for practical care (like the school run, for example) but the children have more than one person they can go to if they’re struggling. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.
Prepare them for changes
Communication is key. Children will often feel out of control when their parents are going through a divorce. Being open and honest about what will and won’t change will help them prepare for the future, both long and short term.
It also gives children opportunities to share their own thoughts and feelings. Assure them that it’s okay to ask for help if they need it. Whatever they’re feeling is valid and you want to listen to their concerns.
Focus on the positive
Positivity breeds positivity. Help them to focus on the good things. Though the situation may be difficult and confusing now, you’ll be happier as a family in the long run.
Let them do things they enjoy doing. Whether that’s joining a school club, or just sitting down on a Friday night to watch a movie with you. Layering positive experiences will help them to adjust more smoothly.
That being said, don’t promise things you can’t deliver on. It’s important to manage expectations so they don’t end up disappointed. Unfortunately sometimes, there are problems during a divorce that can’t be fixed with a simple solution. Rather than promising something you can’t be sure will happen, assure them that it’s okay to feel sad about it. But it will get better, even if the situation looks different to how it looked before.
At Starting Point, we always focus on the positive. We know contact can be a difficult adjustment, and we want to help families have meaningful, positive experiences, so that children develop the relationships they need.
To find out more about how we can help your clients, get in touch with us today.