It’s no doubt that separation and divorce can be emotionally overwhelming and traumatic, especially when there are children involved. However, it’s not the act of separation that affects your child, but rather the exposure to conflict.
The reason why a divorce can be so troubling for children is this: Their entire world as they know it is changing right before their eyes. Two of the most important people in their lives have decided to go on a solely different course. Children get anxious about the future and often look to their parents to manage their fears of the unknown.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts which can help you support your child in dealing with the separation of their parents:
- When talking about the other parent to your child, always talk them in a positive manner
- Check in on your child and ask them how they are feeling, providing them with assurance that everything is going to be okay; you are your child’s support system
- Encourage your child to have a meaningful, loving relationship with the other parent
- If your child asks questions about the divorce, tell them you are working it out with the other parent
- If you believe your child is suffering from matters arising from the separation, talk to the other parent about difficulties your child may have and address any issues together
- Don’t disparage the other parent in front of your child
- Don’t look to your child for emotional support
- Don’t ask your child to pass on messages for you to the other parent involved
- Don’t include your child in any adult conservations; don’t let your child be present during any adult conversations about the separation; don’t discuss the details of the divorce with your child
- Don’t make a habit of rescheduling time with your child, and don’t arrive late for visits or pickups
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