7 Tips on How to Protect Child Mental and Emotional Health During a Divorce
Divorce is a very sensitive subject and is often challenging to speak about. This goes for the adults involved and the kids. But on the whole, divorce is most harmful on kids who want nothing more than to have two parents looking after them. More so, the statistics make for grim reading with about 43% of marriages in the United States ending in divorce.
The major problem with divorce happens to be parents communicating to the kids why they had to settle for that decision. This is because how kids are told could trigger a new wave of emotions which they may find difficult to handle. Then there’s the mental and emotional health aspect with kids needing motivation. Protecting child mental and emotional health during divorce could be done in several ways.
With these seven tips, you’ll figure out how to get things right, so the kids don’t feel the harsh effects.
1. Answer Questions with All Honesty
When it comes to divorce, honesty is always the best policy. It’s a vital aspect of the ensuing relationship with your kids, particularly if you’ve gone through the separation stage with your spouse. The fact is kids are intelligent and don’t get much credit for what they know or can perceive. So, they know when you’re giving them dishonest opinions. This can lead to varying degrees of emotions, including anger, hatred, and resentment.
Furthermore, kids are an inquisitive bunch. If you’re not straight with them, they can get that information somewhere else. Often, they hook up with peers who have experienced divorce, and who could lead them astray. To avoid such, openness is essential. What’s more, being honest from the beginning means there’s no room for anxious moments. Sure, you’re not going to tell your kid everything, especially if it makes your ex look bad. But enough to let the child know that you love and care for them.
2. Handling the Issue with The Other Parent
When a kid has grown to love both partners, it could be hard to tell them essential stuff alone. If talking to the children together will ease their nerves emotionally and mentally, it’s an option you should take. Of course, it’s not as easy as it seems, especially if there’s still some bad blood between exes. But a joint conversation could be what ideally helps them remain stable. A good aspect is that they get to hear from both parents, thus eliminating confusion and doubts on the kid’s side.
Furthermore, it presents a united front. Your child gets to see that both parents care about them. It’s reassuring, helps with impactful conversations, and generally has the feel of a family which is exactly what most kids want.
3. Be Firm About the Divorce Being Final
Stemming from the last point, it’s all good to communicate with kids together, but there’s a limit. Don’t give them straws to clutch at. Instead, emphasize how final the divorce is, but also how each parent will do their best to always be around for them. This is because kids experience a lot of psychological effects as a result of divorce, including dreaming of their parents getting back together. However, you should put out such flames. Don’t lead them on with words that ignite the possibility of getting back. Of course, it’s a good thing, but if that’s not the case, it could have detrimental effects on their outlook on life as a whole. Both parents being open and communicating should come with defined boundaries.
4. Being Available
It’s school play day, and your child has prepared so much to make you proud, including using a papersowl review to get things right. But you don’t show up. Well, as a parent, being unavailable could have a lot of side effects. For instance, your kid could begin to hate school or any kind of formal education. Also, your presence helps them to loosen up a bit. Conversations won’t be as forced and your child will grow to depend on you irrespective of the divorce. Your child could shut down if you’re always unavailable.
Rather than have your kid withdraw, let him know you’ll be there. Create a safe haven where they feel comfortable spending time with you and telling you their secrets.
5. Reassure Them
There’s nothing quite like easing the fears of a loved one. Reassure your kids. At this moment, they have tons of things, thoughts, and ideas going through their mind. For instance, “how often will I see her?” “Does he love me like before?”. Such thoughts could play on their minds and leave them emotionally and mentally wrecked. As such, get closer to them. Tell them reassuring things so that they know that they can count on you. Help them go through activities, including homework and assignments. If you can’t, get instant assignment help to chip in. Your words and actions will go a long way to determine how much they cope with the divorce.
6. Get Help
Sometimes, all you need is a bit of help. This is because of the mental and emotional effects divorce could have on your child. Experts, support groups, and many resource providers could be of great help. What you want is your kid to be as stable as possible. Of course, this is a big ask, but it’s entirely possible provided you know you can’t do it all on your own.
It’s a time to make adjustments. But it’s your job to make sure such adjustments are healthy. Help from a therapist, well-respected family member or friend, could provide much-needed support. But you should focus more on the emotional side with love and understanding. Kids may vent or go on a long stretch without speaking to you, but they’ll eventually come around. Be there when that happens.
7. What Comes Next After Divorce?
Your kids should be able to know what comes next after divorce. The changes, experiences, and a whole lot more should assume some clarity. In line with that, it makes sense to let them know what to expect when the deed has been done. For instance, would there be significant changes in their lives, such as moves to a new city or going to new schools? Also, figure out the time they can spend with you or your ex. Is it going to be much limited than they expect or will you go all out to be as available as you possibly can?
If you’re unsure about certain aspects such as living conditions, you and your ex can speak about it. After which you can relay the message to your kids. This way, they’re not anxious or afraid about what the separation might do to them. Also, it would help them adapt faster to changes emotionally and psychologically.
These are great tips to help you protect your child’s mental and emotional health during a divorce. It’s not a one size fits all, but clarity in purpose and communication does help. Always consider the state of your kids’ overall health and how your actions affect them.
Guest Writer Bio
Michael Gorman is a highly-skilled freelance essay writer and proofreader from the UK who currently works at best essay writing service. He is interested in daily development and writes various blog posts on his discoveries about new aspects of human existence every day. Feel free to reach him through Facebook or check his Twitter.