May 19, 2023
Many families face the challenge of a separation or divorce. Whatever the cause, is difficult for everyone and can be very upsetting and confusing for the children.
Parental separation and divorce aren’t merely events; they’re evolving processes that touch on many aspects of a child’s life.
Seeing less of one or both parents, moving between homes with different rules, and dealing with changes in family finances or parental employment all add up to big adjustments for a child.
Research informs that it is not the split itself, but the conflict between parents that hurt kids most. Although it can be hard to do when feelings are running high, communicating and cooperating with your ex is the best gift you can give your child to help soften the impact of separation or divorce.
WHEN ADULTS ARE CIVIL TOWARD EACH OTHER AFTER A SEPARATION, CHILDREN COPE MUCH BETTER WITH THE EXPERIENCE.
Here are some helpful ideas to help you support your children through the process of separation:
2-3 years old
Give lots of comfort. Children facing big events often erupt over small triggers because they have no coping reserves left. Respond to overwhelm with soothing.
Setbacks are normal- children may regress- crying at bedtimes, having separation anxiety. Be patient.
4-5 years old
Inform the school. Let your child’s teachers know, so they can be understanding of any changes in behaviour.
Be a united front. Be polite to your ex so your child doesn’t feel awkward about having you both at events, such as school assemblies and concerts.
6-7 years old
Children this age may blame themselves for the split. Explain repeatedly that it wasn’t their fault. Help them figure out what and how to tell their friends. Your children may also fantasise about reconciliation, which can hold back recovery and make it harder for them to accept when you move on. Tell them this is an adult decision they can’t influence.
The truth is that it is going to being a difficult time for children when their parents separate, so putting you children first by making every effort to reduce their levels of stress and anxiety is highly recommended.