Divorce is unpleasant and can really take out a lot from one. In real sense though, the children are the casualties of any divorce. The innocent kids also have to endure the pain of a divorce. Kids also feel that stress and the impact of it all can last a really long time. The stages of grief are felt on the child as well and in some instances, the child can get stuck on one emotion all the way to adulthood if the divorce is not handled well. What then can a parent do to help their child deal with divorce if the decision to have is final?
Listening needs to be the first thing you do. Listen to your child to ensure that your child knows that their opinion matters and that they are not insignificant. Ensure you have maintained a healthy relationship with your kids and they will keep you posted on their feelings along the way which you can work out together.
Then you shall need to break the news to the child in person. This has to be done by both parents at the same time. Having a discussion with your spouse beforehand about how the news will be broken to your child will help you keep off feelings of hurt, anger, resentment, and blame during the discussion. Look into what is co-parenting to see what it is all about and also study the child support guidelines. Respond to their questions as this will help your child understand more about what is to happen.
Kids will have to react but not all at the same time and you should acknowledge this. You should be ready for this and know how to help them and handle the reactions. Tell them that you care about how they feel and it is okay that it is okay for them to be upset. You will find that not all kids react immediately and they might act like everything is okay. This is an attempt to please you as the parent or as they avoid to feel the difficult feelings of sadness and hurt. Give them time and let them know that when they are ready, you are there for them.
After the initial reaction, you should help them cope with reality. They hope that their parents will be back together and everything will be back to normal. They will definitely miss their family as it was and want it back. Don’t make any promises to make them feel better but let them know that it is perfectly okay for them to hope. Be considerate of what they feel but tell them the truth so that they won’t have false hope.