Divorce: what to say to children? In this article 8 useful tips for parents who divorce:
how to make mom and dad divorce as less traumatic as possible?
1. Every family is different: respect times and feelings
What’s the best way to help your family get through a divorce? Every situation, and every family, is different. But some guidelines and tips for reducing trauma stress can make things easier.
These tips can make the process less painful for both children and parents. Parents will have to interpret them in their own way; honesty, sensitivity, self-control and the passage of time will help to overcome this delicate phase. Don’t be in a hurry: every situation has its time.
2. Help the children manage and understand their feelings
Encourage the children to open up about their feelings about divorce, positive or negative.
It is important for divorcees to encourage their children to express their thoughts and feelings, which must remain distinct from their parents’ feelings. Often, children experience a feeling of loss and may blame you or your partner, or both, for what is happening in their lives. Therefore, you must be well prepared to answer questions that your children might ask.
Any discussion and confrontation that arises must be seen by you as an evolving process, because children grow and become more mature, so they may develop new questions or concerns that they had not previously thought of. Even if you feel like you’re always going back to the same topics, keep an open dialogue. If possible, talk to other parents and think about how to talk to your kids about what happened.
3. What to say to the children when the parents leave? And how?
If you don’t feel up to it because you’re afraid of collapsing and not controlling yourself, ask someone else (maybe a relative) to explain things to them. The problem is not making children look sad or angry, but exaggerated emotions may make them feel responsible for the parent’s feelings.
It is normal for children to experience a variety of emotions related to divorce. They may feel guilty and think they have “caused” the problem, especially those children who are used to hearing their parents arguing over child management situations. The boys may experience anger, fear, or concern about their future.
Although children will suffer divorce for some time, the strongest impact lasts around 2 to 3 years. In this period not all children are able to express their emotions. Instead, they may be misbehaving or depressed. For school-aged children, this becomes evident when grades drop or when they lose interest in the various activities. Younger children often express these feelings during the game.
You might be tempted to tell the child not to behave in a certain way, but children (as well as adults) have a right to their feelings. And if you try to force them to happiness, you may get the opposite effect, preventing them from sincerely expressing their feelings.
Avoid fighting in front of your children
Here is one of the most difficult things to do. But it is important to keep children away from your discussions. Children understand certain things surprisingly. Research shows that the main factor in children’s adaptation problems is the level of conflict between parents to which they are exposed. It puts them in a very difficult situation, in which they may find themselves having to take a stand towards one or the other parent, or listen to very negative things from one or both parents.
It is equally important to stick to reality. For example, if a spouse has left the family, the incident must be acknowledged openly. It is not your responsibility to explain the behavior of the spouse, but if the children want to ask questions it is important to answer with neutrality and objectivity, however difficult it is.
5. Do not use children as messengers or mediators, especially during quarrels.
However tempting it may be to try, children should not be used as messengers. There are countless other ways of communicating with your ex-partner. Also, avoid asking the child for information on the life of the other parent, the children do not like to be asked to “spy” on one of the spouses. Take advantage of every opportunity to communicate directly with your ex-partner about important issues such as schedules, visits, health or school issues.
6. Expect to encounter resistance and difficulties in getting your children used to a new partner or to the children of your new partner.
New relationships, extended families and new marriages are the most complicated aspects of the divorce process. A new extended family may cause additional stress, and may need an additional adaptation period. We need to communicate a lot because keeping our guard up against stress can prevent the development of a series of further problems.
7. Get help: try to reduce stress in your life to help your family.
The help of friends and relatives can improve the ability to adapt to parents and their children to the new situation. The boys could benefit from meeting other boys who have successfully overcome the difficulties in dealing with separated and divorced parents. Seeking help will make it easier for you to find solutions to the practical and emotional problems that other families have already faced.
Whenever possible, children should be encouraged to have a positive image of both parents. Even in the best of circumstances, separation and divorce can be painful for many children.
Parents must also remember to take care of themselves. Try to reduce stress by seeking the support of friends and ask for help if necessary. Maintain old family traditions and build new memories to share. Showing your children that you are able to take care of your body and mental balance will help them be stronger.
8. Try to find compromises so that the divorce or separation phases do not last long
The best solution for everyone is undoubtedly a short divorce : so the family will not find themselves in the midst of legal battles that will last for years, and everyone’s life, albeit different and to be rebuilt according to the new circumstances, can start again. We can help you and give you all the tools to make the delicate moment that is divorce or separation less painful for everyone: contact us and have a chat with our experts.