Divorce is not an easy process for you, your soon-to-be ex or your child to go through. It is a life-changing decision, and children can often struggle with their new reality.
However, there are things that you can do to ease the divorce process for your child.
Keep the divorce talk to a minimum
It’s usually best to avoid talking about the divorce with or around your child. The details, whether they are good or bad, generally don’t concern them and would just be an added burden for your child to carry and try to cope with. Especially if you bring up the cost of divorce, it could spark feelings of confusion and guilt in your child.
Instead, try to maintain your child’s daily routine as much as possible. While there will be discrepancies due to some divorce proceedings, having some semblance of normalcy that they can rely on may help your kid realize that this divorce won’t dominate their lives.
Don’t disparage the other parent
No matter your reason for divorcing, there will come times during the process where you might feel angry or frustrated at your soon-to-be ex. But putting your child’s other parent on blast or complaining about them to or in front of your kid can be a traumatizing experience. Your child likely loves both parents equally, so to see one tearing down the other can be hurtful.
In addition, many children see themselves in their parents. If you call out one parent for their behavior, actions or personality traits — characteristics that your child might think they embody — your kid might believe that you think of them in the same way that you think of their other parent.
Avoid leaning on your child for support
Divorce can be emotionally taxing, and you’ll likely need some support through the process. But don’t rely on your child to be that source. They, too, are experiencing some of the same feelings as you. So to unload your fears and worries onto your child is an extra burden that they don’t need.
While your kid might want to show you that they’re here for you and that they love you, consider turning to a friend, family member, counselor or attorney to confide in and lean on. You can show your child you love and trust them without making them feel like they have to carry you through this divorce on their own.
A light at the end of the tunnel
Of course, your child may find navigating your divorce difficult no matter how much you try to help them through it. Because the reality is, their life will change.
However, reminding them that it’s okay to feel confused and conflicted can help them come to terms with this new situation. Working with your child through this difficult time can help you and your family move towards a brighter future.