Navigating life between divorced parents and separate households can be confusing for children. How can you prepare your kids for this sudden change in their everyday lives?
Communication is key
It is important that children understand they are not responsible for the status of their parents’ relationship. Kids are very perceptive to the emotions of their parents and they can usually tell when something is wrong. You can take this as an opportunity to talk to them about how to handle big emotions and develop coping strategies. Also, try to convey to your kids early in the divorce or separation process that, even though one of their parents may not be around as much, they are still loved. Your unconditional love may be obvious to you, but children often need assurance.
Follow up with action
Communicating your child’s continued importance in your and your spouse’s lives is a great first step, but remember to show and not just tell. If possible, consider obtaining a temporary visitation order until an official parenting plan is in place. Mediation and divorce proceedings can take months and this is a long time in the life of a child. Maintaining contact during this process shows your children that you will continue to be a part of their lives and your relationship with them will not change.
When you are experiencing strong feelings across the emotional spectrum it can be difficult to look at the big picture. However, guiding your kids through this difficult time can positively affect their relationship with both their parents and themselves.