Every year, parents of thousands of children get divorced. Divorces are hard on children, often making them question everything they know. Some children will not react right away, instead letting their stress out through other actions, such as not sleeping or misbehaving at school. You can assure children that their feelings are normal and valid, and tell them to talk with you at any time. But as stress builds, there are ways to mitigate it. Here are three tips for preventing and dealing with your child’s stress.
- Keep a Solid Routine
In this time of upheaval, your child need to know that most things are normal. Going to soccer practice or band rehearsal as your child always has will be comforting. Each parent should also spend one-on-one time with the child. The child will need to know that both parents plan to remain in the picture. Both parents should also be consistent about rules and discipline. Leniency can be tempting in this situation, but relaxing rules might make your child worry that things are changing too much.
- Avoid Fighting in Front of the Child
Any open conflict should be resolved away from your child. An argument will occasionally happen, but try to keep these to a minimum. Your behavior sets an example for your child, who is still learning how to form relationships. If you need help coping with the divorce yourself, you should talk to a mediator or a divorce lawyer.
- Avoid Blame and Negativity
Try the best you can to be positive and diplomatic about the divorce. Blaming yourself or your spouse will create a negative atmosphere that can raise your child’s stress. You should also watch for signs that your child is taking the blame. Talk to your child or bring him or her to a therapist if you sense guilt.
Divorce can be rough for children, but often it can make them more tenacious in the long run. While divorce is painful, coping is a good skill that can become your silver lining.