Parents can become so ensnared in their own emotions relating to their divorce proceedings that they may not notice that their children are suffering too. Here are a few ways that you can stay attentive to your children’s needs during and after your divorce process:
Look for the signs that your child is having a hard time: In extreme cases, your child might commit crimes, hurt animals or threaten or bully others. In other cases, your child might simply be highly emotional, accusatory, depressed or difficult to discipline. Get help from a mental health professional if you see these difficulties surfacing, and be patient with your child during this “adjustment” phase.
Continue to enforce rules and institute consequences: Just because your child is having a hard time, that doesn’t mean you should throw the rule book out the window. Continue to enforce the rules, with consequences for acting out.
Find common ground with your child: Even if your child is being distant or difficult, continue to try to reach out to them. Talk about mutual areas of interest, like music, books, sports, hobbies and movies. Try to understand new trends that your child is enjoying. This will help bring your child back into the fold so that they will open up to you regarding feelings, emotions and problems.
Give your child space: Extend the olive branch to connect with your child, but also give them space. Your child needs to feel like they have a safe place where no one will pester or bother them. This will help your child calm down when angry or annoyed.
Psychologists say that 80 percent of children will — with time — adjust well to post-divorce life. If your child is having a hard time right now, keep this statistic in mind. Finally, another way you can support your child is to divorce peacefully and respectfully with a minimum of conflict.