Divorce has an emotional impact on the entire family. However, its impact is especially significant on children, who can experience long-term effects after their parents separate.
While you cannot shield your child from the pain and sadness that naturally accompany divorce, you can support them in a way that mitigates many of the emotional effects. HealthyChildren.org explains what parents should do to help their children cope with divorce.
Try to remain optimistic about the future
It is easy to take a less positive view of your future during and immediately after divorce. However, your kids will look to you for emotional cues, and your attitude could unduly influence their emotions. Remain open-minded about the future and make sure your children are also hopeful and upbeat.
Support your ex-spouse’s parenting efforts
As long as parents can provide a safe and loving home, children should maintain relationships with both after divorce. Parents are also encouraged to support each other’s efforts, provided they are in the best interest of children. While you may have resentment towards your ex and how your marriage ended, that resentment should not affect your ex’s relationship with your kids. Being unnecessarily critical of their relationship or parenting style will only increase ill feelings.
Do not fight in front of your children
Negotiations during divorce are often quite stressful. This stress can increase conflict between you and your ex, which can then spill over into the relationship with your children. Keep kids shielded from this conflict to reduce their worry and concern about the divorce and its impact on your life. If you have a hard time being civil in person, use communication methods like text and email to alleviate possible issues.
If the divorce results in a more positive home experience, your children will eventually grow to appreciate the new situation. Your ability to provide supportive and loving parenting will also improve.