“What about the kids?”
This question is often the most important concern on the minds of parents involved in a divorce. There’s a good reason for that. In many cases, divorce leads to dismal outcomes for children. From lower self-esteem and health problems to depression and anger issues, divorce can deal a heavy blow to kids. However, divorce doesn’t have to impact children this way.
Mental health experts claim that parents can make divorce easier on their kids by following certain guidelines. Some of these ideas include the following:
Never criticize your ex in front of your kids. Regardless of how much suffering you’ve experienced, resist the temptation to put down your ex or your ex’s family. Children love both parents, and they also love both sets of grandparents, aunts, and uncles. If you insult your ex or your ex’s family, you’re creating more confusion and hurt for your child. Instead, try to think of something good to say about your ex, even if it’s really hard.
Don’t try to buy your child’s affection. Sometimes parents will attempt to make their kids feel better by buying expensive clothes, gadgets, trips, and other items. While parents may think that this will help, it can end up backfiring. Spoiling a child only leads to more complications in school and elsewhere. Kids who are used to getting everything they want become less resilient and are more likely to struggle when the going gets tough. Make the most of your time together with enjoyable activities that don’t break the bank.
Have patience and show composure when dealing with your kids. Remember that your kids are innocent victims of your separation. Despite your own frustrations and pain related to the divorce, do your best to avoid lashing out at the children. In addition, ensure that your kids know that they aren’t the cause of the divorce. Tell them how much you love them. The home situation will be different from now on, but your children will always enjoy the love and affection of their parents.
If possible, don’t uproot your kids. Maintaining routines helps kids get through tough times. Taking your children away from their friends and familiar places and activities makes them more susceptible to mental anguish. Work with your ex to establish as much continuity as you can.
Forge strong relationships with your children, especially your teens. By improving your communication skills, you grow closer to your kids. Listening, giving and receiving constructive feedback, and resolving conflicts peacefully are skills you should try to develop. You want your children to know that your line of communication is always open and that they should feel comfortable coming to you for advice and guidance. By becoming more effective in expressing your views and respecting those of your child, you will strengthen the bond.
Incorporate happiness habits into your home life. A branch of psychology known as the “science of happiness” has revealed certain behaviors and ways of thinking that make us happier. By teaching and practicing happiness habits with your children, you get them on track for better lives while elevating your mood at the same time. For ideas on how to have a happier home, check out my “Happy Family” Challenge.
Take care of yourself. Your kids need you now more than ever. Make sure you eat, sleep, and exercise well. Spend time with supportive friends and family members. Also, mindfulness meditations can help you manage your stress and find meaning during this traumatic period. If you become emotionally overwhelmed, realize that this is a completely normal outcome for many people. Be willing to reach out for assistance. There’s no shame in it! You may find peace by taking a vacation or going on a retreat that helps you clear your mind and see your situation from a different perspective.