Divorce is never easy to handle, but it really is possible to get through it. Perhaps you have been to a marriage counselor and nothing was resolved amicably, so divorce became the solution to end the ‘suffering.’ That really is okay. Rather than fight your way through long days and nights with the kids in the background watching and listening, sometimes it’s best to go your separate ways. Now divorce is on the table, how do you help your kids cope?
Remember, divorce affects your kids, sometimes even more than it does you. Here are some thoughts from online masters in counseling programs offered at Wake Forest University.
You Can’t Spare the Hurt but You Can Dull the Pain
It isn’t realistic to think that you can spare your kids the hurt of a divorce. Even in shared custody cases, kids are being uprooted from a life they’ve known and their comfort level is being shaken to the core. Kids even get used to parents arguing, believe it or not, and although that is not the behaviors we should be modeling, it’s a sad reality. Most divorces are anything but amicable and kids see that. The best advice here is to keep your disputes a bit more private.
Don’t air out the laundry in the living room with the kids sitting there the whole time. Choose a better place to discuss your ‘issues.’ Believe it or not, kids will still sense that all is not well and will probably be prepared for the divorce, they just won’t be thrust into an emotionally charged situation that should be kept between the adults.
Bring in the Counselor at School
What many parents do is consult with the counselor at school. They apprise them of the situation at home, give the counselor a bit of background and ask them to talk a bit to their children. Sometimes just being able to discuss what mom and dad are going through with a ‘disinterested’ third party helps them get in touch with their own feelings. After all, they can’t very well talk to mom or dad at a time like this because they feel as though they would be expected to take sides.
Kids should never be made to choose sides because they have two parents and deserve to have a relationship with both. This is most often the cause of stress in children of divorce and the sad thing is that it is the one stress which can be avoided.
Kids can’t help but be saddened that the family unit is breaking up. They can’t help but worry over what it will be like with only one parent in the home. However, kids don’t need to take sides. It is wrong to expect them to do so and that is why the counselor at school can be a wonderful resource, a totally objective person. Remember, divorce does affect kids to so get the help you need to keep them healthy of body, mind and spirit. It is, after all, your job as a parent. The kids aren’t getting divorced, you are and let’s keep it that way.