How to deal with Divorce - Cafe Counsel

This is blog 2 in the series, how to deal with divorce. Part one was written for the partners involved in a marriage and this is about divorce and how to deal with children post separation.

Divorce between parents is never easy for kids. Kids feel a tremendous sense of loss and anxiety of not seeing their parents happily together ever again. Initially they may not realise the whole crust especially if the kids are small but later the realisation leaves them with the bitter feeling that things can no longer be the same again. This point of time the parents need to act responsibly no matter what differences they have with their partners. In order for parents to be of the best help to their kids, they also need to work with their own emotions, especially a common guilt they feel towards their kids. It will be helpful for parents to recognize that parenting is always going to be an important part of their life and no matter what it’s always going to be a priority. Also, parents should always look for the positive side of how the situation can be better for their children as they don’t have to live with constant parental discord. In fact, in many situations, children do better when they relate to each parent alone in a healthier environment. If parents accept their decision and present it as natural part of life, they can help their kids to overcome the difficulties. Here are some strategies for handling the difficulties ahead:

Make it clear your child will always be loved

When a parent regularly doesn’t come through or don’t emotionally connect with the kids, they assume that they are somehow to blame. If only they were more fun or better behaved, they believe, then surely their parent would want to be with them. This can lead the kids question themselves and can even hurt their self-esteem. So parents need to continually reassure their children that the irregularity has nothing to do with the lovability. Look each of your children in the eye and let them know they could not have caused the divorce, nor could they have prevented it. It’s best to communicate to the kids that as parents they are not divorcing them.

Allow your kids to express

Let the kids know it’s natural to feel sad. You can set the example by not trying to force them to be happy all the time. Whether the kids are upset about the divorce in general or about something more specific, let them express themselves. It’s obvious that the kids will be entitled to certain feelings and they should be able to talk about them without worrying that their parents will be upset or angry. Offer your support and comfort by letting your children know that you understand and that their feelings matter. This will serve them well throughout their life.

Avoid arguments in front of your kids

Heated conversations regarding unreliability or finances should take place elsewhere or on the phone when your kids aren’t around. What’s done can have an evil impact on the kids and even after the divorce if the ugly arguments continue the kids will be baffled even more. Some couples simply can’t get along or trust each other and aren’t likely to. But for your children’s sake, they must stop fighting in front of them. Parents should rather provide a peaceful environment for the kids so that they can overcome the sense of loss.

Aim for peaceful transitions

Even if you’re not openly argumentative, kids can sense tension and become anxious quickly. Some may complain that they just can’t handle the conflict when seeing their former spouse. Or a parent arrives to a clearly anxious child and assumes his ex-spouse has been bad-mouthing. Then the other parent ends up rationalizing that it’s better if he doesn’t come at all. You should avoid doing that. No matter how upset or angry you feel, be a parent and go on completing your responsibilities.

There is no question that a divorce is hard on everyone in the family. But if children continue to feel loved by both of their parents and parents work to create a peaceful environment for their children, they can certainly overcome the difficult times and can recover in good shape. Over time they will be calmer and get used to the routine.

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