Divorces are definitely not pleasant and can drain one in more ways than one. The casualties of every divorce are the children in real sense. The innocent kids also have to endure the pain of a divorce. The stress that kids undergo during this time is felt for a long time afterward. If the divorce is not handled well, the effects of the divorce can be felt way into adulthood. What then can a parent do to help their child deal with divorce if the decision to have is final?
The first thing you must do is to listen. Listen to your child to ensure that your child knows that their opinion matters and that they are not insignificant. Maintain a healthy relationship with your child as this will help them open up about the divorce along the way and you can work it all out together.
The other thing that you need to do is break the news yourself to your child. Both parents need to be there for this. Practice this discussion beforehand so that by the time you are doing this, you shall have worked out how to do so without bringing in feelings of anger, resentment, hurt and blame. Understand what co-parenting is and what it entails beforehand including the child support guidelines that are in place. Respond to their questions as this will help your child understand more about what is to happen.
You should know that kids are different and they react very differently. You should be ready for this and know how to help them and handle the reactions. They should know and feel that you care about their feelings and that they are valid and it is okay for them to be upset. You will realize that not all kids will react as you expect them too because some of them will keep their feelings hidden and act like they are okay. This is an attempt to please you as the parent or as they avoid to feel the difficult feelings of sadness and hurt. Don’t try hurry them at all but be patient and allow them to come when they are ready.
It will come a time when they need to cope with their reality and it will not be easy. It is normal for them to hope that things would go differently and their parents would be back together in no time. They miss the kind of family they were used to and hoped for. Let them know that you understand what they want but don’t encourage them and give any false promises. It is important that you tell the truth of the matter but help them cope with it.