While divorce is definitely emotionally challenging for adults, it has an even more profound effect on children. According to Healthline, divorce has a range of effects on kids, from anger to sadness and everything in between.
While you cannot shield your child from all possible hurt feelings in life, there are steps you can take to alleviate the emotional effects of divorce. By doing the following, you can navigate the process with love and kindness.
Reduce conflict as much as possible
Conflict is common during divorce, especially if you and your ex had a tumultuous relationship leading up to the decision. However, you should do all you can to shield your child from any conflict you experience. Try not to argue with your former spouse when your children are present, and refrain from speaking ill of the person in front of your kids. Drawing children into the middle of parental disputes will only cause more hurt feelings.
Prepare yourself for an angry response
Older children often have an angry response when learning of their parents’ divorce. This is a very natural emotional response, especially when children learn they must move homes or change schools. Encourage your child to be open about all their emotions, even when they are negative. Do what you can to maintain a calm demeanor, even when they lash out at you.
Get professional help if needed
Extreme emotional responses or a lack of coping can warrant additional assistance for your child. Do not be afraid to speak with a mental health professional if the divorce is negatively impacting your child’s mental health. A psychologist or counselor can provide coping mechanisms and strategies for dealing with the issue. If you are not sure where to turn, you can also address the issue with your child’s pediatrician for further insight.
By always striving to do the best for your child, you can ensure they enjoy a healthy and fulfilling home life. You can also move forward with your new family dynamic with hope for the future.