This article is a partnership with Birkett & Co. Family Solicitors
Divorce can be a difficult and emotionally traumatic time for children. As a parent, it’s important to provide your children with support, understanding, and empathy during this transition. This guide will help you create an environment that is safe, secure, and nurturing for your children in all stages of the divorce process.
Supporting children through a divorce
Communicate openly and honestly
One of the best things that you can do for your children is to communicate with them openly and honestly about what’s happening. Make sure to explain the situation, changes, and emotions to your children in a way that is appropriate for their age. Be mindful of their feelings too, so that they know you are there to listen. Creating an environment where your children feel comfortable talking about what they are going through can help them process their emotions more easily.
Reassure your children that they are loved by both parents
Divorce brings about many big changes for children. Let your children know that even if mummy and daddy are no longer together, both of you still love them and will be there for them. Being able to rely on both parents can help children during their most vulnerable times. It has been proven that the presence of both parents offers important protection from the anxieties and fear resulting from family separation
Respect the feelings of your children, both positive and negative
Children may have a range of emotions during the divorce process. Acknowledge them by name and show understanding for their feelings, good or bad. Let your child know that it is okay to have both happy and sad feelings about the family changes, and encourage them to express themselves without judgement or blame from either parent. It is important to create an open dialogue in order for your child to feel secure in talking about their feelings as they adjust to this new normal.
Focus on activities and plans that involve both parents
If possible, make sure you both make time to actively plan activities with your children that involve both parents. This could include weekend outings, holidays, or family gatherings. Whenever possible in these events keep communication civil and engaging so the children can develop a positive relationship with each parent separately while still feeling connected to their family as a whole unit.
Of course, this might not always be feasible, depending on the situation.
Make sure each parent has a safe space to vent their feelings
It is understandable that both parents could be feeling overwhelmed and emotional during a divorce, but it is important to make sure your children do not feel responsible for either parent’s emotions or weighed down by their grief.
Create a space and time where each parent can openly express their feelings or process what they are going through without the fear of being judged. This also gives the other parent time to be with the children in a fun, healthy environment and let the children know that although some things may be different from before, life can still go on and there are still enjoyable moments to be experienced.
No one wants to go through a divorce, but it is often the only course of action possible. The focus has to be on supporting children through divorce and these tips, along with the help of family law solicitors, can make it easier than it otherwise might be.