Getting a Divorce? This can be a difficult time for many families. Here's some information that can be useful during this difficult time:
*Breaking the News to the Children
-This is not easy.
-If possible have both parents there for this conversation with the kids.
-Leave out feelings of anger, guilt, blame. Practice ahead of time if need be.
-Reassure the kids that what happened between mom and dad is not the child’s fault. Most kids will blame themselves even if the parents say it is not their fault.
-Give kids enough information to prepare them for the upcoming changes.
*Help Kids Manage Their Feelings- Encourage your kids to talk about how they are feeling.
-Their initial reaction will probably be one of shock, sadness, frustration, anger or worry.
-Don’t problem solve or try to change how the child is feeling
-Focus on listening
-Kids might blame you or the other parent.
-Help them cope with tough feelings (When I am sad, I like to listen to music or play outside.)
-Some kids may act out, be depressed, have changes to their appetite, behavior, or sleep.
-Some kids may take the changes in stride at first but then have disruptive behaviors or challenging emotions years later.
-Be ready to answer any questions or address their concerns. Some common questions are:
-Who will I live with?
-Where will I go to school?
-Where will each parent live?
-Where will I spend the holidays?
-Will I still get to see my friends?
-Can I still do my favorite activities?
*Do not argue in front of the children.
-Kids pick up on things.
-The single biggest factor in long-term adjustment kids of divorced parents is the level of parental conflict they see.
-Answer kids’ questions neutrally and truthfully as possible.
*Do not use the kids as messengers.
-There are plenty of other ways to communicate with your ex.
-Do not ask the kids what is happening in the other household.
-Communicate directly with the other parent about scheduling, visitations, health or school issues.
*Expect adjustment periods.
-New relationships, blended families, and remarriages are hard.
-Watch for signs of stress.
-Keep lines of communication open with your children during this process.
*Keep yourselves healthy.
-Keep yourself physically and emotionally healthy
-If you take care of your needs, you will be in the best shape to take care of your kids.
*Keep details private.
-Ensure privacy when discussing the details of the divorce with friends, family, and lawyers.
-Keep interactions with the ex as civil as possible, especially in front of the kids.
-Don’t resort to blaming or name calling in front of the kids or within ear shot.
-Lean on friends, relatives for support during this time.
-Church and religious groups can offer support.
-Support groups, online resources, and talk to others who have been through this.
-Counselors and therapists can be great tools as well.
-I can also run Banana Splits Groups for kids to offer support to each other.
-Do not lean on your kids for support.
*Consistency is key!
- Try to minimize unpredictable schedules, transitions, or abrupt separations.
-Try to accommodate your ex as you figure out visitation schedules.
-Consistency and routine can go a long way toward providing comfort during this difficult time.