How to Help Your Kids Cope with Separation and Divorce?

Kid in middle of divorce

One of the biggest problems with the divorce is that it seldom affects only the people responsible. You see, once a marital bond is separated the situation escalates and all the friends, families and even neighbors of the former spouses get affected. However, if the couple has any offspring there isn’t a shred of doubt of who is affected the most. When this happens, it is the job of parents as responsible adults to help their kids cope with separation and divorce as best as they can. Here are a couple of tips that might come in handy.

Sometimes divorce is better

A good divorce is always better than a bad marriage. When people who can no longer coexist decide to stay together for the kids, this usually tends to backfire. Their mutual discomfort always emerges, no matter how hard they try to hide it and this is something that children can sense, even if there is no physical or verbal escalation in their presence. This atmosphere of fear and unhappiness is not a healthy environment for someone who is in their formative stage. In this situation, the separation becomes a decision that it in the child’s best interest.

Explain to them that no one is abandoning them

First of all, it is in a biology of a kid to fear abandonment above anything else. When you come to think about it, humans haven’t evolved (anthropologically) that much in the past several thousand years and in the wilderness, an abandonment means death for a youngling. Therefore, a child has an innate feeling of fear towards the notion of being abandoned by one or both of their parents.

If your child is big enough to understand, you need to try and explain it to them that you are separating from your former spouse but that you are not abandoning them. Even more importantly, you need to be there for them during this period. Saying that you’ll be there for them is one thing but being there is what actually matters the most.

Try to avoid a messy divorce

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that as long as you have kids together, you and your former spouse can never separate entirely. They will forever be an important part of your life, which means that you shouldn’t pollute your future efforts at coexistence by engaging in a messy divorce process. Try to agree on all that you can and try to avoid dragging your kids around the courtroom as much as you can. The key to pulling this off lies in finding reliable family law specialists who will put your interests and the interest of your kid at the very top.

Tell them it’s not their fault

Kids understand far more than you realize, however, they are still susceptible to making the wrong conclusion. It is, therefore, not that uncommon for a child to assume that it’s somehow their fault that you’re getting separated. Needless to say, this kind of self-doubt and self-blame can be devastating for a young child, which is why you need to find a way to explain to them that this is in no way their doing. Unfortunately, this is nowhere as easy as it sounds.

Include them in the process

At the end of the day, seeing as how your child is the person who will get affected by this divorce the most, it is only fair if they are the part of the process. Of course, you need to protect them from the inappropriate details as much as possible and avoid playing the blame game but make sure to tell them exactly what’s going on. By keeping secrets from them, you aren’t doing them a service, so you should try to be honest and forthcoming. Furthermore, when you decide to actually tell them what’s going on, you need to make sure that the timing is right. On the other hand, stalling for too long is counterproductive since your kid will already know that something’s wrong.

The hardest part of helping your kids cope with separation is setting your ego aside and being a parent first and an ex-spouse second. For this to work, you need to keep in mind why you are doing this in the first place in order to avoid making things worse. Sure, the transition might be difficult but managing to deal with an issue in the right way might turn out to be best for everyone in the long-run. Ironically, sometimes breaking your family apart is the only way to protect it.