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Divorce: How To Make Sure Your Kids Don`t Suffer
You and your spouse have decided to get a divorce and the relief that hits you is palpable. Finally, you’re free at last you think! Or perhaps you’re feeling more somber. Don’t be surprised if you feel a myriad of emotions while going through your divorce. There were days I felt completely defeated and others in which I felt overjoyed that finally, I didn’t have to worry if the spoons were “mixing” with the forks in the dishwasher. He was gone. But your children? They don’t have the same capabilities to process their feelings about a divorce like you do, nor will they necessarily share the same emotions that you and your spouse have about the marriage ending. So how do you get your children to talk about the divorce?And how do you as a parent create an open dialogue with your kids so they feel comfortable enough to talk about divorce with you?
Try these tips to get those lips moving and get those hearts open. You’ll want your kids to feel safe enough to talk about divorce and sometimes? That means saying things you won’t always want to hear.
Are you asking your children how they feel about the divorce? If you’re not, you should. Set aside time with each child individually to ask them how they are doing. Explain that they should feel free to be as honest as possible. That there are no judgments involved so even if they want to say something you may not like, tell them they are allowed to.
2-Don’t Take Offense
Your child may say that he or she feels as if you or your spouse made a bad choice in ending the marriage or make other comments you may not enjoy hearing. Remember that this is not about you or your spouse. It’s about your children. Let your kids talk about divorce without your commentary.
Reassure your children how much you both love them. Tell them that it’s okay to be sad and stressed over the divorce. Even more so? If they feel relieved, tell them that’s fine as well.
You are allowed to tell your children you are sad or sad the marriage is ending but glad that now everyone can work on getting along better, but do not use your children as a sounding board. They are not your therapists.
If your children are feeling anxious, sad or angry, provide tools for them to help them cope.
Suggesting quiet time, deep breathing, seeing friends or getting out for exercise are great ways to keep with their tough emotions.
If however your children are struggling, speak to the family pediatrician, school guidance counselor, teachers and trusted coaches to build a support network for your children. Just as you will need support for yourself, your kids will need a support network to grieve and talk about divorce.
Lastly, a play therapist is an excellent resource for children of divorce. Research professionals in your area.
No matter what, letting your kids have a safe space to talk about divorce will be a valuable tool you can share to help the whole family grieve the divorce.
Remember: this too shall pass and life will get easier!