Divorce is almost always accompanied by a lot of heartbreak and grief for the adults involved, but the pain and misery it causes to the children involved can be immense. It is not easy for the children to see their parents going on separate paths. It turns their life upside down and affects their emotional well being.
A divorce can have severe emotional repercussions for the child or children. Young kids may not understand the causes of the divorce and blame one or both parents or even themselves for the divorce. It is essential to handle the emotional stress the kids are going through so that they don’t end up emotionally scarred in the aftermath of a divorce.
One of the first questions that will come up is why? The reasons may not be easy to explain to the child and may be all you can tell them is that “Mummy and Daddy had some adult problems and that it was not good for them to stay together anymore”.
Keep in minds that older kids may require a little more candid explanation.
Care should be taken that at no point the child feels responsible for the divorce. Quite often the younger children will blame themselvesfor the divorce.
They need to know that their behavior at any level is not responsible for the separation of the parents. Dirty rooms, undone chores or low grades are not why mom and dad decided to part ways.
Children can easily go into depression or reflect their emotional turmoil with other behavioral issues. They may need counseling and plenty of support from both the parents.
Children will want to know what changes it will bring in their lives and who they will be living with. Give them truthful answers and be clear about the facts.
Answers that are given to please them and are not part of the future plans will lead to a lack of trust between the children and the parents. So let them know what changes to expect and also how to handle them.
The child may feel that just as you have stopped loving your spouse you may stop loving them too. They will need to be reassured that your love for another adult may vanish but it will never do so for your child and that you will always love your child no matter what.
Let the child know about the custody agreements and the visitation rights of their parent who has moved away. Be careful, to never berate your ex-spouse in front of your children. Don’t blame your spouse for the divorce and don’t let your bitterness affect the children.
There may be a drop in the living standards after the divorce and the children need to be initiated about it so that it does not come as a shock. Let them be a part of the financial process so that they understand the circumstances and are prepared to do their bit to help out.
Whatever be the reasons of the divorce, it is important to let the child feel secure and loved all the time. At no point should the child feel neglected or the reason for the divorce. If needed look for professional help, but in most cases an understanding and loving parent can help the child through the trauma of the divorce.