There was a viral video about a 6-year-old giving her parents tips on a healthy divorce. It was quite moving and made me think that she was talking from her own little life experience. As much as this is a hard time for you and your spouse, it is more so for the kids.
It is pertinent that you understand that at this time your kids are powerless, confused and hurt. The young ones especially can’t wrap their little heads around daddy and mummy not being able to get along. Here are 6 steps in helping your child cope during this hard time:
1. Understand their frame of mind. Erratic and unusual behaviour starts from the time you and daddy make the announcement. Try not to react harshly at this time. Their safe haven has been destroyed and their world flipped upside down. Let your response to these outbursts reflect you understand.
2. Let your child be able to open up to you. During this time, let your child have access to talk with you. Even if they do not make the move, you try and set some time aside to sit down and talk with your child. Try and help them open up to you.
3. Work well with the other parent. Writing it down I know it may not always be easy. For your daughter or son’s sake though, you should try to be civil to each other. This is in the best interest of these special gifts. Whatever misunderstandings you may have, please, settle them in private. Your child’s security during this time depends on your child seeing you “get along”.
4. Be always available for them. If you are the one away, be sure to check up on your child as often as possible. Keep reassuring them that if they need anything, that you are simply a call away. Do not ruin it though. In keeping this relationship with your child, you worry less, as you know they would call if something ever went wrong.
5. Communicate directly with your ex. Once again, I know it is not easy, but direct communication with the other parent is necessary. You cannot afford to being sending your child whenever you have a message for the other person. Don’t let it get to the point where your child begins to feel like a secretary or messenger.
6. Don’t bad mouth your spouse in front of /to your child. Be sure to always be positive when talking to your kids about their other parent. It will seriously ease any tension your child is feeling. It will also make for them looking forward to being with either of you.