Divorce affects each child differently, even in the same family. It often depends on their personality, their age, and the relationships they have with each of their parents. While it can be difficult, letting your children know what is ahead for them due to the divorce is very important.
You want to eliminate as much anxiety for them as possible. It is very important for children to have support both during and after the divorce takes place. They may have days when they are fine with it and others when it is too much for them to deal with. Having open lines of communication means they can feel safe to approach you when they need to about it.
Don’t just assume all is well though when you don’t hear from them about it either. Take some quite time when there aren’t any distractions to ask each child how they are coping with things. One on one discussions will allow each child to really open up to you. They will appreciate that you respect their feelings enough to ask as well.
It is important to understand that children who are from divorced families often need support from other sources as well. They don’t always want to confide in their parents. They may need to talk with peers who have been through the same situation. They may have trusted adults that they want to share their feelings with as well.
While it is important to know who your children are talking to, you don’t want to get into the middle of it. Know that your children may be sharing feelings they don’t want you to know about. They don’t want to make you feel worse than you already do. Don’t put the person they are confiding in on the spot by asking what is being said.
Parents shouldn’t view this as them not being adequate for their children. It should be viewed as a relief as you know your children are talking about the divorce and working through it. They aren’t just keeping their feelings bottled up inside of them. Not all children will be able to find this support on their own. You can help them go about getting what they need though.
Counseling is a very effective tool for children, especially where the issue of divorce is concerned. They can talk with a school counselor or a professional that they are comfortable with. School counseling is often free though so if the financial end of it is a problem that could work well.
Keep in mind that you aren’t going to get a report from the counselor about what they talk with your child about. Many parents don’t like that but confidentiality does apply to the relationship. It allows your children to open up without worrying about what will get back to their parents. The counselor will report to you though if they feel your child is a danger to themselves or to others.
Family counseling can also be a good idea. If you aren’t feeling like everyone is able to communicate openly then this can get you on the right track for it. Don’t let those hurt feelings and misconceptions wedge barriers between you and your children. Some counseling centers have support groups for various ages just for children who have divorced parents.
This type of group counseling is very effective. Each child can see that others are going through similar experiences. They can see that their emotions are typical. They can also develop effective skills for helping them get through the divorce as a very happy and successful individual.
Children need a great deal of support when a divorce is taking place. It can come from many resources to help surround them with all they need. Each child will have different needs so stay in tune to them. It is important to remember that they will need this support long after the divorce has taken place as well. Their feelings about it don’t get turned off when the divorce is finalized.