Navigating Your Child Through Divorce: 5 Tips to Keep Their Childhood Intact
While nobody goes into a marriage anticipating that it will result in divorce, the truth of the matter is that it’s certainly a possibility. For one reason or another, two people just may no longer want to be together for the rest of their lives. In some cases, however, these two people may have already had children who they now need to think about. Learning how to navigate your child through these turbulent times with your partner is important for all parents.
Is Divorce Difficult for Children?
When a divorce isn’t handled properly, it can have devastating long-term effects on a child. In fact, there is a 16% increase in the risk of behavioral problems in a child of divorce if they are between the ages of 7 and 14 when the divorce occurs. However, just because divorce has the potential to be extremely difficult for a child doesn’t mean it always has to be. With the right nurturing and support, a child can fare far better than other children throughout the process.
5 Ways to Guide Your Child Through Your Divorce
Just because you and your partner no longer see eye-to-eye in a marriage doesn’t mean that a parent should sacrifice their relationship with their child. Use the following five tips to guide your child through the divorce process so that they can grow up knowing they are loved, despite differences between their parents:
- Work hard to co-parent, rather than alienating your former spouse
The last thing any divorced couple should be doing is isolating one partner and stopping their child from seeing that parent. Should you find yourself being isolated by your partner unfairly, it’s important to start taking a stand against parental alienation by potentially contacting legal services in order to resolve the situation.
- Help your child express their feelings regarding the matter
Regardless of the age of your child, the experience of going through a divorce will be extremely confusing to them. This means that there will be a large number of feelings going through their head that they won’t necessarily recognize. Reminding your child that they can speak to you and your partner about their thoughts is extremely important as a parent.
- Be supportive of any time your child spends with their other parent
Just because you may no longer wish to see your partner doesn’t mean that your child also doesn’t want to spend time with them. If your child wants to stay with your partner for a little while, it’s important to be supportive of their wishes. The last thing any parent should be doing is restricting the time their child see their former spouse, unless there is approved legal reason for doing so.
- Avoid speaking negatively about your former spouse
While the immediate period of time following a divorce will likely be turbulent and leave you with a number of feelings that you wish to get off your chest, it’s best not to vent these feelings to your child. The relationship you had with your spouse is different to that which your child has with them, so it’s best not to let your own relationship issues get in the way of your child’s relationship with their other parent. While this can be difficult, seek the advice of a divorce counselor should the issue become too heavy.
- Keep any routines as intact as possible
Going through a divorce is so challenging partly because everything is new all of a sudden for your child. Your partner will likely no longer be living with you and your child will be splitting their time between two locations. This chaos can be overwhelming to a child, so it’s best to take the time to keep as many routines intact as possible. Whether it’s both parents attending a sporting event for their child or even just a family meal that occurred once a week, keep as many routines in place so as to establish a sense of normalcy for your child.
Raise a loving child today
With the right amount of nurturing and preparation, there’s no reason to believe that your child won’t be able to get through the divorce of you and your partner. As a parent, however, you also need to recognize that this situation will still be hard on your child. This means you need to provide your child with the resources they need for support during these challenging times.
This is a partnered post.