It's sometimes hard to think about bringing up a divorce with your children. When you had them, you didn't think that you and their other parent would ever separate. Now, that's no longer the case.
You want the divorce to be as easy for your child as possible, but what can you do to facilitate this smooth transition? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
1. Talk about changes early on
One of the first things you can do for your kids is to begin talking about the potential changes happening as soon as possible. Even if there's a chance that you could move or change your child's schedule, it's a good idea to talk to him or her about it. This helps your child prepare for the changes heading his or her way.
2. Give your child a chance to vent
Another good thing to do is to allow your child to vent. Yes, it's likely a younger child will have a tantrum at some point. Yes, it's possible a teenager could slam a door in your face. It's a difficult time for you, so you should expect it to be hard for your children, too. Do your best to avoid penalizing them for acting out because of the divorce. Instead, open a line of communication, so you can hear what your children have to say in a calm atmosphere.
3. Stick to your routine
A good thing for children is to stick to a routine. If they're used to mom or dad tucking them in at night, do what you can to maintain that habit. If dad is always there after school, try to keep that routine the same, if possible. Throughout the divorce process, it should be your priority to keep as many things the same as they were prior to this huge new change.
4. Keep fights out of the home
You need to do everything you can to avoid fights with your spouse in your home. Fights put children in a difficult position where they may feel that they have to choose sides. Avoid fighting around your children.
5. Be supportive
Finally, be supportive. Divorces aren't easy for anyone, and the changes taking place are catching your child off-guard. Be patient, because you and your child can get through this difficult time together.
With patience and planning, you may be able to help your child get through this divorce with minimal impact on his or her long-term health. Children need time to accept changes in their lives, but they are also adaptive and are able to adjust.