It is no secret that divorce is hard on adults; it is complicated, emotional, and stressful. However, it can also be very difficult on children, particularly when they don't understand what divorce means or why it may be the best decision for their parents.
As such, parents can take a few important steps to make the divorce process a little easier on their children.
Keeping things amicable
Seeking an amicable divorce allows children to see that parents can still work together and be peaceful, which can give them comfort. No child wants to see a parent upset after court hearings or angry about spending months or even years fighting with their other parent.
When parents can cooperate and be civil, they can set a good example for their children and get through the legal process more quickly.
Throughout a divorce, it can be easy for some parents to lose sight of who they are and what roles they fill. They can feel lost and unsure of what to do. However, parents must remember that they were parents before the divorce began, and they will be parents after it is final.
Focusing on those roles during the divorce can help children feel safe and grounded, and it is important for both parents to remain present for their children. Help a child with homework; show up for school performances; tuck them in or call them at night and tell them you love them. These things don't have to change when parents divorce.
Keeping communication open
As this article notes, children can feel guilty, stressed, and lost during their parents' separation and divorce. Their schoolwork can suffer; they may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed; they may act out more. These can all be ways that kids cope in difficult situations.
To help them through these tough experiences, parents should keep the lines of communication open. Talk to children and listen to them; let them ask questions and take them to speak with a counselor, if necessary.
Divorce can be a painful experience, but parents must remember that there is life after divorce. And when you take these steps to protect your children, you can make that life better for them and for yourself.