There’s no question that divorce is traumatic for your kids. Everyone knows children suffer the most in a divorce, and have the least say about what happens. Experts advise different ways to tell your kids about divorce, and different methods for dealing with divorce. Ultimately, you probably know that divorce is traumatic for your kids, but do you begin to understand why? Here are a few of the most popular things that happen to kids in a divorce:
Kids think divorce is their fault.
First and foremost, many kids worry that divorce is their fault. Unless you take great pains to convince your kids that you and your spouse just don’t get along anymore, they are likely to have a secret, gnawing fear that they are the reason for your divorce. It’s your job as an adult to convince them otherwise, as much as possible. Kids may need therapy to deal with this fear, and they definitely need your reassurance and explanations as to why the marriage failed.
Kids worry that parents don’t love them.
Only slightly less worrisome to kids is the fear that their parents just don’t love them. This is tied up with the fear that kids are the reason for divorce, but it’s hard to process a parent leaving the household if said parent loves the kids. Therefore, it’s vital for you to tell your kids early and tell them often that you love them. But you have to do more than tell them; you have to show your kids that you love them, or they might not believe you. This is perhaps the most important thing to help kids survive through a divorce with as little trauma as possible.
Kids wonder what will become of their life.
Most kids have no concept of their way of life after divorce. For kids that have lived in one house with both parents their entire lives, it’s impossible to conceptualize anything else. Therefore, kids will wonder what will become of their life. You can help with this worry by providing as stable a household as possible. Try to continue normal routines, take kids to the same schools and establish that things are going to be similar even after the divorce. Be consistent, and reliable. Kids need stability, so try to confine moving to a minimum and be careful to explain things to kids along the way.
Kids are neglected while parents worry about divorce stuff.
Divorce is tough. You’re juggling a lot of balls while you’re dealing with divorce stuff. You’re dealing with finances, trying to get housing lined up, arranging childcare, talking to lawyers; the to-do list is endless. In the midst of it all, you can’t neglect your kids while you’re worrying about your grown-up concerns. Kids need quality time with parents perhaps more than ever during a divorce, so make it a point to spend that time with your kids. Time with your kids has therapeutic value for you, too, so it’s a win-win situation.