The aftermath of a divorce may be hard on everyone involved. Your minor children, who suddenly find their worlds forever changed through no doing of their own, may suffer especially, both emotionally and psychologically.
Serious impacts may include anger, anxiety, withdrawal and a decline in academic performance among other consequences. To help your children adjust easier to their new lives, it is important to be supportive through words, presence and actions.
1. Do not become too lax
It is okay to spoil your children a little during a difficult time. However, it is important not to abandon all rules. Children crave security and stability, and one of the ways that manifests is a need for guidelines. Boundaries help them feel safe. Be understanding and make allowances for the understandable intense emotions they may feel and how they act as a result of these feelings, but it is also important to gently reinforce existing restrictions. This may offer comfort as your children navigate a world where so much is different from what they knew before.
2. Allow your children to express their emotions constructively
Children’s brains are not fully developed, which means they may have difficulty processing and expressing their emotions. They may lash out and misbehave as a result. While misbehavior needs gentle correction (and understanding, not necessarily discipline), it is also important to make sure your children know you are here to listen to them. Do not punish them for their emotions. Instead, explain that their feelings are normal and consider therapy.
3. Remain neutral when discussing your former partner
Never trash talk the other parent to your children. Besides damaging their relationship with the other parent, it is behavior judges do not look favorably on.
After a divorce, your children especially need you. Your support and understanding may make all the difference in how the divorce impacts them.