Six Support Tips for Parents
Everyone handles divorce differently, and there is no exception when it comes to children. Teenagers may have an easier time understanding the process and reasoning behind it, while those who are younger may not know what goes into it or how they will be affected. Regardless of their level of understanding, however, your child will likely experience some kind of emotion surrounding your divorce. As a parent, you have the ability to help them through it and cope with the changes. Here are some things that you can do.
1. Notice the Little Things
How is your child handling this? Are they talking about it at school, using it as inspiration for projects, withdrawing from things they always loved? Through all the craziness, don’t forget to take the time to help your child manage their thoughts and feelings, and keep an eye on any major changes in their behavior.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
If your child is having a difficult time processing or is reacting negatively to the news, don’t be afraid to ask questions that encourage open and honest lines of communication. Verbalizing your feelings is a great first step, and while some children may not want to have these conversations right away, letting them know that you are always willing to listen and talk can help create a more calming atmosphere.
3. Validate Their Feelings
We all want our feelings validated, and parents can help with that by letting their child know that theirs will be respected and taken seriously. The easiest way to do this is to give your child the space to deal with any emotions they have and to not put pressure on them to behave or feel a certain way.
4. Offer Additional Support
Normalize that there is no one way to deal with this situation by offering support outside of just conversations. If quiet time, watching a favorite movie, taking a walk, or having your child help with dinner makes them feel less alone, then provide them with choices. They may not feel like they have very many right now, so give them this freedom and quality time if they ask for it.
5. Keep Up with Routines and Expectations
Regardless of what your custody agreement looks like, maintaining a similar routine to what you had pre-divorce can make the transition easier. If that means eating the same meal for Sunday family dinner or keeping up with the same bedtime rituals, encourage normalcy in your schedule.
Along with this, maintaining the same expectations of when homework or chores need to be done, as well as having the same discipline structure, can alleviate extra anxiety that may come with going back and forth between homes or only spending time with one parent.
6. Take Care of Yourself
The old saying “children are sponges” can be especially true during a divorce. It is not uncommon for children to mimic coping behaviors - so if you start to become withdrawn, act negatively, over or undereat, or stop taking care of yourself, they will likely notice and begin doing the same. Encourage healthy coping mechanisms whenever possible.
Get Your Custody Questions Answered
Even if you are still concerned about how to tell your child about what their life may look like following the divorce, working with an experienced child custody attorney can help provide support and guidance through this process. Having helped many families through divorce and custody, Law Office of Alexandra White, PC understands that every situation is unique and we will provide the compassionate, individualized care that works best for your family.
To get your custody questions answered, call (303) 647-4245 to schedule your free consultation today.