If you are going through an annulment, divorce, or other legal separation processes, you may be concerned about its effect on your children. It can be difficult for them as much as it is for you and your former partner.
During this time, your children’s emotions may go through different stages and often change. They may feel confused, sad, angry, guilty, or worried about what will happen to them. To help you handle these changes, here are some pointers to help you take care of your child after separation.
Let Yourself Feel Emotions in a Healthy Way
Although you are watching out for your kid, remember that you must also take care of yourself. Keep in mind that you cannot help anyone if you are in a dreadful condition.
A divorce or a legal annulment can be emotionally draining. So let yourself feel emotions and try to resolve your troubles one at a time.
Remember that what you do with the emotions you are feeling can make a world of difference in your life and your child’s life. Do not encourage unhealthy coping expressions, such as drinking alcohol or engaging in fights with your ex-spouse.
Instead, find people who make you feel safe and talk to them about your frustrations. Invest your energy into brand-new interests or other healthy activities.
Always Put Your Children’s Needs First
You may be stressed and emotional after separating from your ex-spouse. Despite this, remember that your child’s feelings will be different from yours. To support your child fully, try to distance yourself from the problems that stir strong emotions.
For example, you did not get along with your former mother-in-law, but your child adored her. While it may be tempting to put distance between them, doing so may be detrimental to your child’s mental health. Your emotions should not impact your child’s positive relationships.
This suggestion may be easier said than done, but do your best to keep problems separate from your kid’s needs.
Try To Understand Their Feelings
Studies show that people exposed to marital conflicts are more at risk of developing mental health issues. This outlines how crucial it is for parents to try to understand their kids expressing intense emotions or acting out after a divorce.
Below are the reasons why children act out after their parents separate:
- They feel angry, sad, or scared about the changes.
- They feel helpless or out of control.
- They want their parents to get back together.
- They want to push you to be strong.
- They are trying to test out new boundaries.
- They feel guilty and feel like the divorce is their fault.
Knowing these reasons can help you act accordingly once your child acts out. If this issue happens in your home after a divorce, you can empathize. But it is also essential to know that you do not have to condone negative behaviours.
Let your young child know that it will be helpful to be cooperative and avoid giving both of you a hard time. Set limits and try to discipline them consistently.
When you were married, you probably had little control over what your partner did and said to your child. After separating, you will have even less control. So do not spend your time and energy trying to manage issues involving the other parent.
Instead, prioritize being a positive role model for your child and maintaining a healthy relationship with them.
Talk to Your Child About the Divorce
Avoiding the topic of divorce with your child will only serve to confuse them even more. If you had an amicable relationship with your ex-spouse even after the divorce, plan how to tell your child. It can be best to do it together to show that you can be together for your kid even after separation.
When talking about divorce, be honest. You should also keep your child’s age in mind when deciding how much information to tell them. Younger children will not need much explanation, but older ones might ask for more information.
Try to reassure your child that you still love them. Tell them that both of you will continue caring for them. You should also say that they will have several opportunities to spend time with both of you.
Reiterate that they are not the reason for the separation. Children, especially younger ones, will worry that they might be to blame for the divorce. So you have to explain that the issue was an adult problem and there was nothing they could have done to prevent it. Help them learn and understand that the decision is final.
You should also encourage your children to speak their minds. When they talk, do not interrupt and listen carefully. They may have trouble expressing their emotions, so be patient. When they have questions, answer as honestly as you can.
These are simple ways to take care of your child after a divorce. Do not be afraid to discuss the topic with them because discussing your decision will help your children understand why their lives are changing.