If there’s one thing that makes a child happy, it’s knowing they live with a tight-knit family. That means mom and dad love one another and are only too happy to take care of your every need while you go through your growing pains. But if parents suddenly no longer get along, it can mean divorce. Suddenly you find yourself feeling lost and anxious, especially if your parents are fighting over child custody arrangements. Here’s where making your child feel happy and secure during a divorce is a must.
Says Phoenix child custody lawyer Laura Gillis, child custody can be a divisive and difficult process. However, it’s always important to put your child’s interest before your own. In some states, both parents are granted equal rights to child custody. But it’s the courts that will determine the ultimate custodial arrangement based on the welfare and needs of the child.
Tips for Making Your Child Feel Happy and Secure During a Divorce
But finding a legal solution to child custody typically doesn’t do a heck of a lot to make the child feel any more secure during the divorce proceedings. According to a recent report by the Child Mind Institute, one of the largest priorities during a divorce is to make certain a child or children continue to thrive.
While there’s no denying how tough divorce can be on kids of any age, the optimistic news is that there are a variety of actions parents can take to make certain their kids feel supported and loved during the process. Once you’ve made the difficult decision to tell the children you’re getting divorced, it’s not uncommon for them to go through a challenging period of readjustment. You, too, as a parent, will be going through your own readjustment as a “new normal” is established.
Says a prominent child psychologist, you should not be alarmed by some of the reactions you might witness early in the divorce process. If things feel chaotic for parents who at least enjoy some control in their lives, you can only imagine how helpless a child might feel. You should not expect the child to feel happy about the divorce. Instead, you should give him time and room to adjust.
Tips for Making Your Child Feel Happy and Secure During a Divorce – Respect a Child’s Emotions During Divorce
You should encourage your child to share how they are feeling about the divorce. Make sure you tell them that no matter what they feel, they are not going to hurt your feelings. This encourages honesty.
Of course, expecting full honesty isn’t always easy. What your child might say to you might be hard for you to hear, but it’s important you hear it anyway. Children are programmed to protect their parents from the absolute truth since they don’t want to upset them more than they already are about the breakup.
Remember that it is not the child’s responsibility to make their parents feel better. You do not want your child to believe you are sad because they are sad. Be open and interested in what your child has to say about the divorce. Be unemotional but supportive. Never let what they have to say hurt your feelings.
Kids go through all sorts of emotions when their parents split. Here are just a few of them.
Tips for Making Your Child Feel Happy and Secure During a Divorce – Guilt Over Divorce
A child psychologist from the Child Mind Institute says it’s very common for a child to feel like the divorce is their fault. This is said to be especially true for younger children. Children are prone to blaming themselves since, at a young age, they are programmed to be egocentric. That’s why it’s important for a parent to constantly reassure them the divorce is not their fault.
Tips for Making Your Child Feel Happy and Secure During a Divorce – Anxiety Over Divorce
You can’t get divorced and not expect both small and large changes in everyday routines. This makes children anxious. If you see signs of anxiety in your kids, make certain to be perfectly clear and honest with them about what they can expect moving forward.
For instance, you might tell them what their new living arrangements will look like. For little kids, it might help if you create a wall calendar that displays where they will be each day and what they will be doing.
Children who are aware of an established routine are likely to feel supported and reassured. This means parents should make this a priority. Kids who struggle during divorce are said to be doing so because their parents have no idea how to co-parent during a split.
Tips for Making Your Child Feel Happy and Secure During a Divorce – Behavioral Issues Over Divorce
It’s all too common for children to act out more while their parents are divorcing. This is a sign of both anxiety, and it’s also a way for them to test parental boundaries. As a parent, you need to establish just what those behavioral boundaries will be.
It’s best to keep things structured in both parental households in the same way. This will cut down on children lashing out or acting up.
Tips for Making Your Child Feel Happy and Secure During a Divorce – Regression Over Divorce
It’s said to be common for children to respond to divorce by craving more parental attention. Some children will need more adult and parental support with everyday things they use to perform independently. Sleep routines are often disrupted, or you might need to help them with things like homework, for instance, more than you used to.
Tips for Making Your Child Feel Happy and Secure During a Divorce – Withdrawal Over Divorce
The opposite of child regression might occur during the divorce proceedings. Some children will become more aloof or withdrawn. While it’s important to give kids the space they desire to sort through their emotions, you still need to make quality time to spend with them.
You might consider something like a special outing that they find appealing or amusing. Educate yourself on how to bond with your withdrawn child during the divorce. This might be as simple as listening to what they have to say.
Tips for Making Your Child Feel Happy and Secure During a Divorce – Trouble focusing Over a Divorce
Some children might find it difficult to concentrate on their schoolwork. Since life to them has suddenly become chaotic, you need to do your best as a parent to create predictable routines at home. This includes a regular homework routine.
You need to alert the children’s teachers about your divorce so they know what to expect and so that they can arrange extra support during school hours if needed. If a child’s grades plummet, you might want to consider sending him to a child psychiatrist or school counselor to help work through the problems.
In the final analysis, divorce can be difficult for parents, but it can be traumatic for children. But if you and your ex-spouse make every effort possible to ensure your child or children feel happy, loved, and secure, the divorce won’t have to be so difficult to live through.