Parents: Help your kids cope with divorce by avoiding guilt
Kids of any age need this kind of reassurance when their parents split up because it can be an incredibly complicated subject for them to comprehend. Making sure they know right away that it’s not their fault and doing whatever you can to help them feel safe should be a parent’s top priorities. It is also crucial to protect kids from feeling guilty when you transition into a shared parenting arrangement.
This can be a challenge for parents, as it requires them to make deliberate efforts to avoid certain statements and behaviors.
For example, you can avoid badmouthing the other parent in front of the kids. They don’t need to know that your ex was late with child support or that he or she is struggling with work. Kids need their parents, imperfections and all. It is more important for a child to spend time with a loving, willing parent than it is for them to know why he or she can’t be trusted in a marriage.
It can also be crucial that you allow your kids to love the other parent without making them feel like it hurts you. As the author discusses in this Huffington Post article, kids can start keeping their emotions inside if they start to feel like sharing them will hurt you. Reassuring your children that they can be happy to see their other parent and have fun with them without hurting your feelings can help keep the lines of communication open and allow kids to feel supported.
Finally, having age-appropriate conversations with your kids about the divorce and what to expect can give them the information they need to process the situation. Making sure both parents are sending the same message will help tremendously in terms of providing consistency, which can be a critical element of any shared parenting arrangement.
When it comes to raising kids post-divorce, there is no one right way to do things. However, making the effort to protect your children’s safety and emotional well-being can go a long way in helping them adjust to and even thrive after a difficult divorce.