Divorce affects more than the couple involved. Divorce casts it shadow on friends, family and in particular the children of the divorcing couple.
In fact, the children often face an even bigger challenge if parents don’t step up to the plate and follow a few basic guidelines.
They(children) are often used as pawns, messengers and sounding boards for the two divorcing partners.
When you’re divorcing, don’t hide it from the children, but have a conversation, letting them know what’s happening. Both spouses should be there when that conversation occurs.
The children also need to know no matter what happens, both parents will always love them, and that will never change. You don’t need to tell kids all the reasons, but keep it simple.
For example, communicating to your children, you simply just don’t get along, could be the easiest way to handle it. Keep your children’s interest as the top priority and don’t use them as pawns to attack the other spouse, act as spies or messengers.
They need to know you both love them. They don’t need to hear bad things about the other parent, even though you feel it’s justified.
Remember, you’re talking about your child’s mother or father.
Using your child as a pawn or forcing them to choose sides is putting undo stress on them. No matter how angry you are, it’s not your child’s fault.
Children live and interact beyond the walls of the home, so make sure you notify the coach, school counselor and teachers. They can relate to your child better when they know the circumstance.
Often children display physical ailments during times of stress, so let your child’s physician know as well. Be understanding if they’re heartbroken and cry, let your child know sadness is okay and normal.
Work with the child in an age-appropriate way. Know the signs of each age that say they’re struggling and need more help and guidance to get them through this traumatic time.
Browell Smith &Company’s Guide to Talking to Your Children about Divorce has helpful information to help you and your child during this difficult time.