It is not uncommon for parents going through divorce to express concern about the emotional well-being of their children. In these situations, proactive steps are available to help ease the transition for young ones. Four examples include:
- Remain neutral. You are divorcing the other parent for good reason. That said, it is important to remember that your future ex is still the children’s other parent. As such, it is important to refrain from speaking negatively about your ex in front of the children.
- Encourage the children to share their concerns. The children should have an opportunity to discuss their concerns. The feelings that come with a divorce are big feelings for these little ones. Take the time to let them voice these feelings. If the children are not comfortable speaking with the parents, encourage them to talk to other loved ones like grandparents or seek professional assistance with a counselor or therapist.
- Validate the children’s feeling of loss. Let the children know that they are allowed to feel sad that their perception of their family is changing. They can take some time to grieve over this perceived loss.
- Stick to a routine. A sense of normalcy can help ease the transition of the family structure during the divorce. This includes sticking with drop off schedules for school, extracurricular activities and play dates.
These are just a few examples that work for many families during this difficult time. A recent publication in The Huffington Post on this issue included taking a moment to encourage the children to spend alone time with each parent and to discuss the importance of empathy. This period of time is difficult for everyone. Encouraging the children to take their emotions, the emotions of siblings and the emotions of their parents into consideration can help them to see the bigger picture.