Making divorce easier for children

During
a divorce it is easy for couples to get caught up in their own issues and
forget about the issues their children may be facing. A child’s well-being
should always be put first when dealing with divorce.

While
a couple can’t stay together only for the sake of their children, there are
things they can do to make their divorce easier for their children to handle.

As
children tend to personalise things, chances are they may harbour guilt about
the divorce. Children may assume that because they misbehaved at one point or
other, they are now being punished with their parents’ marriage breaking up.

Parents
should make a conscious effort to talk to their child about the situation and
to make sure that the child knows that he or she is not to blame for the
separation. When children are able to stop blaming themselves, it is then easier
for them to begin to accept other changes they will be facing.

One
of the biggest problems a child will have when faced with their parents’
divorce is loss of normalcy. As it can be hard for children to accept changes
to the norm, having a parent move out or being displaced from a regular environment
can be a tough thing to tackle.

“I
think moving out was the biggest change. I suggest not to displace your
children too much, as I found it really hard moving out of my house,” said
Charlotte Balmer, whose parents divorced when she was nine years old.

Parents
are encouraged to make a new post-divorce routine for their children as soon as
possible because the sooner a child can go back to a normal routine, within the
newly fragmented family, the sooner the child will be able to come to terms
with the separation of his or her parents and carry on with what has become the
new norm.

Children
also have a need to feel safe. If a new post-divorce routine is established, it
is likely that the child will begin to feel safer in the newly changed
environment. Children will then be able to continue without the worry that
there will be more changes to their already drastically changed lifestyle.

Parents
should make sure that the environment their children will be in during the
divorce is a stable one as well. During and after a divorce the most important
element for a child will be the need to have a strong and stable parent.

Even
if you are not in a position where you feel brave or strong, you must try to be
so in front of your child. Children tend to worry about their parents,
especially if they see that they are going through huge personal changes and
problems.

“It
was really hard for me when my parents argued in front of me, so I suggest
avoiding arguments in front of your children,” Ms Balmer said.

Parents
should use their discretion when it comes to discussing with their children not
only the divorce, but also their relationship with their ex-partner.

Finally,
it is important to the development of children that they are able to have both
parents consistently involved in their lives and upbringing. While the child’s
parents may no longer be married, they are still parents and should work
together on bringing up their children. Children will find it much easier to
cope if they are able to have stable and consistent relationships with both parents.

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