How Can You Help Children Cope With Divorce?
Divorce and separation are events in a child’s life, but with the right communication and support, most children will be able to manage.
Many children cope in different ways and may start displaying changes in their behavior due to this traumatic experience. If you are experiencing a divorce, it is important to remember the impact it will have on your child, so it is essential to support them through this challenging time.
Effects of Divorce on Children:
Loss of Interest in Social Activity
Children whose family is going through divorce may have a harder time relating to others, and tend to have less social contacts. Sometimes children feel insecure and wonder if their family is the only family that has gotten divorced.
Difficulty Adapting to Change
Through divorce, children can be affected by having to learn to adapt to change more often and more frequently. New family dynamics, new house or living situation, schools, friends, relatives and more, may all have a big effect.
Feelings of Guilt
Children often wonder why a divorce is happening in their family. They will look for reasons, wondering if their parents no longer love each other, or if they have done something wrong. These feelings of guilt are a very common effect of divorce on children, but also one which can lead to many other issues. Guilt increases pressure, can lead to depression, stress, and other health problems.
Lack of Interest in School
Divorced children tend to have poorer school attendance; do less homework; get lower grades; have higher rates of school dropout; and have less parental supervision over schoolwork at home than their non-divorced counterparts.
Changes in Sleep & Eating Habits
Due to the changes in routine and structure that accompany divorce, children may struggle to maintain regular sleep and eating habits. Whereas previous bedtime and mealtime routines may have provided this regularity, a lack of structure–or inconsistency between households–due to divorce may lead to disruptions in these areas.
How to Support Your Child through a Divorce
Keep case details away from the children
Don’t leave information about the divorce where the child can access it, and don’t expose them to more information than necessary. Keep them an arm’s length away from the details that don’t directly impact them.
Talk to your child
As difficult as it might sometimes be, you should let your child express his feelings to you. It can be a positive step for them towards moving forward. Listen attentively and respond lovingly, even if what they say feels hurtful.
Keep up routines
Your child’s mealtimes and tuck-in hour can act as a life preserver during chaotic moments so stick to her daily schedule as closely as possible. The more sameness you can provide, the better chance your child will feel a sense of calm and order.
Encourage time spent with each parent
When one parent leaves the picture entirely, it can lead a child to feel extremely troubled. As long as no issues are surrounding your child’s safety, children deserve to spend quality time with each of their parents and continue cultivating a close relationship with them individually.
Seek support when communication is difficult
There will be some family situations where it is not possible to find solutions in helping the children. If you want to help your children cope with divorce or other family problems, Dr. Carla Kesrouani can help you!