While divorce is often in the best interest of families where conflict is high, it can still have a negative impact on children. Kids often express a wide range of emotions during divorce, including, guilt, sadness, frustration, and fear, and it is up to parents to help kids work through these emotions.
KidsHealth.org offers some tips for divorcing parents on how they can alleviate the negative aspects when it comes to children. While it will not completely prevent bad feelings, it can help children cope with divorce in a healthier way.
Communicate directly with your ex-spouse
Some parents use their children to convey information to their former spouses due to high conflict and tension. This literally puts kids in the middle of disputes and increases their stress exponentially. When you have something to say to your ex, say it to them directly. You do not have to do it in person, but you should either text or email them as opposed to sending messages along with children during visits.
Keep conflict to a minimum when children are present
While there is no avoiding conflict during divorce, you should make every attempt to shield your children from it. When you fight and argue in front of kids, they are likely to internalize the situation and assume responsibility for the conflict. The same can occur when you speak ill of the other parent, regardless of the truth of your statements. Maintain a neutral tone in front of kids and keep conflicts between you and your spouse to yourself.
Encourage children to share their feelings
Children must feel supported by their parents during rough times. You can do so by urging your child to share their feelings about the situation, no matter what they are. Explain that their feelings are valid and that they should not feel ashamed of them. Do not try to solve their problems or worries, just lend your love and support when they need it most.
Parents must also take care of themselves during divorce. Make sure you reach out to your support network as needed when feeling stressed. You should also consider seeking professional mental health assistance for depression and other issues.