When children have to go through their parents' divorce, it's hard on them. They have to deal with the stress of the situation, and they may not yet have the tools to do so effectively. During divorces, children often lash out or act differently than normal, and that is largely due to the changes radically altering the lives they knew.
Every divorce is different, just as every person going through one will have different experiences. Here are a few things to do if you want to help your child get through a divorce more easily.
1. Minimize disruptions to routines
If your child currently has a routine, do your best to avoid changing it. Even if you and the other parent live in different homes, you can maintain the same routine in each place.
For example, if your child normally comes home, has a snack after school, does homework, plays and then gets ready for bed at a certain time, try to make sure you're doing this at both households. This minimizes the disruption caused by having to live in a new household.
2. Keep conflicts quiet
Another thing is to keep your divorce conflicts quiet. No child should have to listen to their parents fight or argue. Instead of arguing or having discussions about divorce where your child can hear, set aside time when they're not present to talk about the situation. If an argument is going to occur, it's best to walk away rather than to bring animosity into the home.
3. Stay involved in your child's life
One of the best things each parent can do is to take the time to stay involved in the child's life. It is hard to go through changes, and it's even more difficult if the family unit changes dramatically.
If one parent "walks away" and doesn't spend time with the child or children anymore, that is harmful to the child's ego and emotional stability. If one parent won't be in the child's or children's lives any longer, it's important to sit down and explain it in an age-appropriate way, so your child can mourn the loss.
Children don't deal with loss in the same way as adults, so it is important to take the time to help your child adjust to the changes that are occurring. Remember, it's your divorce, but your children or child will also have to deal with the results.