Like most Florida parents, you probably assume that your children know you love them and that you always have their best interests in mind. Studies show, however, that when it comes to divorce, children tend to internalize their parents’ situations, often believing that they are somehow to blame.
One of the best ways you can provide support to your kids as you adapt to a new lifestyle is to verbally assure them that they did nothing to cause your divorce. In fact, there are several things you can do and say to help your children cope with their current circumstances.
Don’t hide the facts
While there’s something to be said for keeping adult matters between adults and protecting the innocence of your children, it’s never a good idea to create a sugarcoated version of your divorce situation in the hope that it will somehow help your kids cope. In reality, children fare best when parents are honest and upfront, without giving unnecessary details about marital problems or other adult issues.
Welcome communication at all times
Do you have one child who tends to be quiet and another who is more outgoing? Each child will react to your divorce in a unique way; yet, it is critical that you let them know that the doors of communication are always open. Perhaps you can have a family discussion one day and arrange one-on-one time with each child as well.
There is no right or wrong way to feel
Children often hesitate to share their feelings about divorce with their parents because the fear upsetting them. If your children know it is okay to be sad, angry, frustrated or confused, they will be more likely to talk about their emotions. On the other hand, it is just as important for your kids to understand that it is also okay to be joyful and to still have fun with their friends and enjoy everyday life.
Tap into support resources as needed
You do not have to go it alone when helping your kids come to terms with your divorce. You might want to talk to their teachers or set up a meeting with a minister or counselor to provide outside support to your children, as needed. Your kids aren’t the only ones who may need such support. As a parent, you may want to connect with other adults, including family law advocates, who can be on hand to help you overcome any obstacles that arise.