When spouses decide to go separate ways, one of their main concerns becomes the well-being of their children. Whether your divorce was amicable or acrimonious, the truth is, you’ll need some coping mechanisms as well. By helping your child deal with the new turn of events, you’ll be healing yourself too.
Sometimes the only thing that keeps us going is making others happy and healthy and working to understand and accept the situation. Here are some tips on how to reach a fine line between the fun methods and serious talks when helping your kids cope with divorce.
Start some fun, new rituals
Who’s up for waffles for dinner? Or dinner in the tub? Or waffles for dinner in the tub? It’s not uncommon to want to loosen up the rules a bit after the separation, and introduce some silly rituals. Do your best to make your children’s time with you pleasant and unburdened.
The smell of pancakes in the morning is a cherished, warm memory that takes many adults straight to their childhoods. Indulge your kids with their favorites from time to time.
Be gentle but honest
While you may want to start the post-divorce relationship on a light note, the serious, straightforward and age-appropriate explanation has to be put on the agenda eventually. The three most important things you should address are truth, love and change.
For starters, don’t try to mask or over complicate it with long-winded explanations. Be honest but keep it short, something along the lines of “We don’t get along anymore” and let them know it’s a permanent decision.
What’s most important is to love your children and let them know it frequently. A simple “I love you” is more potent than any gift you can ever buy to them, and for them it’s a clear sign of support.
Prepare your kids for the change and let them know about the things that will be different, while also reminding them about the good old stuff that won’t change. Reassure them that whatever may come, you will handle it together.
Try pet therapy
Dogs can be such goofballs, and their love and devotion to us is invariably true and pure, so they make perfect emotional healers for people of all ages. Instead of buying a puppy, adopt one from the local shelter. Taking care of a pet and spending time with it can create a new love bond between the dog and the child; subsequently, it will prevent your kid from over-focusing on the divorce.
Try not to go crazy when the pup poops on the kitchen floor, or even worse, on the new living room rug (yikes!) as this poor dog is adjusting to a new situation as well. They’re bound to be the stars of numerous hilarious escapades and a foolproof source of positive vibes in the house.
Attend events important to your kids
I recently read a real-life Humans of New York story of a woman who didn’t want to burden her kids with her post-divorce feelings and problems so she never refused to attend their kid’s birthdays with their dad and stepmom (the woman her ex cheated on with). Her noble decision to keep the spotlight away from her and rise above the issue has had unquestionable positive benefits to her kids, as they are now normal, successful human beings.
Try searching the web to get fresh, fun and effective ideas on how to smooth up this transitional period and abstain from bad-mouthing as taking sides will alienate the kids from one of their parents, which can have an adverse effect on the children’s development.
Keep spirits high
Show the kids there’s no bad blood between their parents, but don’t cross the line by being too cordial and give them false hope. Find a way to laugh about it and present it as something normal. Slip in some classic, like “Sleepless in Seattle” (or any single-parent movie with a positive message) into your movie night arrangement and allow your kids to take a different view of the things.
Introverted kids may be more inclined to book reading, so let them find their safe haven by reading some of the splendid and comical books about divorce.
The best advice is to not take things too seriously, as your kids will pick up on it. To help your kids overcome this major change in their lives, create a loving and supporting environment and be honest about the differences that arose.
Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and to surf the Internet. Most of her free time at home she spends walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. Marie loves to share her experiences and talk about practical solutions. She is an avid lover of photography interested in interior and exterior design, and aunt to two beautiful boys and one amazing girl.