“I had a really good childhood up until I was nine, then a classic case of divorce really affected me.” (Kurt Cobain)
Just as it is of paramount importance to help children learn how to stay safe from abduction, abuse or any kind of predator harm, it is also important to help children learn how to cope with situations involving their parents getting divorced.
Children who don’t understand the reasons that their parents are divorcing find the situation to be extremely distressing. Divorcing parents, however, can make the effects of divorce less painful for their children.
How parents tell their children about a pending divorce is critical to the children understanding and coping in an emotionally healthy way. Parents should reassure them that their love for them hasn’t changed and never will. Parents should assure children that they will continue to care for them and love them no matter what.
Parents should warn their children that some things may change and that there may be some logistical problems, but the family will work together through each detail and problem as they arise.
Parents seeking divorce should approach it amicably and try to maintain a civil and even friendly relationship afterwards, for the sake of children involved. Parents should endeavor to make children understand that the divorce is not the children’s fault, and children shouldn’t be made to feel as if they are losing a parent. Divorcing parents who maintain a healthy, amicable relationship can more effectively help their children heal from the shift in their lives.
Divorced couples should try to maintain communication with one another. Above all, parents who are divorcing should avoid using the children as pawns or speaking badly about one another in front of the children. Keep it civil, and keep it real.
(Picture credit - S. Braswell)