Divorce is not easy for anyone, and it can be especially difficult for children. Kids experience the acute scrambling of their world, while their parents wrestle with their complex emotions. With both parents in distress, or one parent suddenly missing, family love is torn asunder, and the children often experience confusion, terror, pain, anger and grief. Anger: Our Most Active Emotion
Sometimes no one is available to comfort a child because his/her parents lost in their own emotional turmoil. Children do not know what to do and they want desperately for things to go back the way they used to be, with parents together and their world safe and comforting. However, children become even more frightened when they realize they have no power in this difficult situation.
As a California-based marriage and family therapist for the past 40 years, I have observed every different permutation of attempts to help children through divorce. Here is what I have seen work best to make the divorce go more smoothly for you and your child. If you decide to go forward with your divorce, implement these ten tips to minimize the trauma for your child and for yourself.
1. Have a family meeting to share with them what is going on, no matter how young they are. If you and your spouse can't stand being in the same room, make sure one parent does this. Include that it's not the children's fault, a simple explanation of why divorce is happening, an invitation to feel, talk and share reactions, and what they might expect.
2. Get help processing your emotions. That way you don't have them bleed out around the children or spill over onto them.
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