Divorce is difficult for children. However, they can bounce back quickly if you handle things correctly. Here are seven things you can do to help them transition as easily as possible.
1. Never talk badly about your ex-spouse in front of your child. While it may seem obvious that you shouldn't talk negatively to your child, remember that children overhear a lot, too. When you are on the phone with your lawyer or another family member, make sure you are alone. Regardless of who is at "fault" in the divorce, your ex is still your child's parent. Be careful how you talk to your ex-spouse when you are with your child, too. Fighting in front of them can cause serious, long-term damage.
2. Encourage your child to have a relationship with their other parent. It is extremely painful to have to give up time with your child. However, avoid showing too much sorrow to your child. Tell them you want them to go and have fun without you. Plan some things you can do while your child is gone. It is definitely appropriate to tell your child you will miss them (they need to feel loved), but don't let them feel guilty for leaving you. Try to keep routines similar from home to home to make transitions easier, too.
3. Choose a good lawyer. Not only will the lawyer help you with custody, they can help you communicate with your ex-spouse. They can set you up with a parenting class for divorced parents and even explain difficult situations to your child. Find someone who is compassionate as well as fair.
4. Make sure they have what they need at each house. There may be a few favorite items that will move from home to home, but try to keep these to a minimum. Things get lost easily. Spend some time with your child listing all the things they want and need at each of their new homes.
5. Listen. Your child will have a lot of emotions about this. Don't feel threatened by them. They need to feel safe to express everything they are feeling. If you don't feel like they are telling you everything, find a grandparent or other adult for them to talk to.
6. Keep yourself healthy. Make sure that you are eating well, exercising, and talking to a therapist regularly. It will be easier for you to take care of your child if your needs are met.
7. Recognize the signs of stress in your child. These signs include:
- change in appetite
- inability to sleep
- nervous tics
- loss of interest in favorite activities
- poor grades
If you notice any of these signs, seek help immediately.
As you follow these tips, you will be able to strengthen your relationship with your child and help them through this difficult time. For more information, click here for details.