Divorce is one of the hardest things children can be subjected to. Parents are too emotionally distressed to realize that the divorce is also taking a toll on their kids. Consequential effects of divorce on children include anger, emotional distress, low self-esteem, rebellion and deteriorating performance in school. In the long-run, if not properly addressed, divorce can cause children to have a negative attitude towards marriage.
If you are in a marriage and you find yourself in the middle of a divorce, it is advisable to follow these strategies in order to ensure children adapt well to the new situation.
- Be honest: Both parents should have a sit-down with the children and explain to them what is really happening and what they should expect. Communicate in simple terms but be as straightforward as possible. Avoid sugar-coating things. We would very much want to avoid a scenario where the children lose trust in their parents because they were lied to.
- Assure your children of your love: Most often than not, children tend to blame themselves for their parent’s divorce. They think if they were obedient and did everything that was asked of them, their parents would still be together. This is never the case. In such scenarios, parents should be quick to assure children that they are not at fault and they still love them unconditionally.
There are times where one spouse may not follow through agreements. Other times, they may exhibit a lack of commitment towards spending quality time with their kids. The other parent should reassure the children that all that lack of commitment has nothing to do with them or their behavior.
- Be more involved in your children’s affairs: During the divorce, children will hurt, be sad, and others will regress. Adolescents may exhibit violent behaviors and be unscrupulous. With the rise of modern technology, these children may sort after social media sites and other Internet websites as an escape from reality. On the Internet, they are prone to dangerous things like cyberbullying and pornography. It is the duty of both parents to protect them from such dangers. Even if it means installing a parental control app on their children’s digital devices.
- Maintain consistency: Both parents should work around the clock to ensure their children maintain 90% of their normal routine. Stick to normal bedtime routines and the likes. In the case of indiscipline, punish the same way you would have before the divorce and reward the same for good behavior. The familiarity and stability, especially during the first few months, will ensure a smoother transition.
As stated earlier, divorce is difficult for everyone. The above is just but a tip of the iceberg. There are other crucial things like parents being civil around each other, not blaming each other, and accommodating each other’s schedules. This process should be taken one step at a time and before you know it, your children will have adapted very well to a new way of life.