Helping Kids Cope With Divorce

Coping with divorce can be a difficult time in a child’s life, characterized by fears of change, loss, and abandonment. However, the effects of divorce on children are largely influenced by the way parents behave, and the strategies that parents use to help their kids ease into this new transition in their lives. Single mothers who have recently gone through a divorce or separation can use the following strategies to ease any emotional distress that their children may be faced with.

Parental Strategies: Coping With Divorce

Parental Involvement
Both parents need to be involved if possible. The effects of divorce on children can include feelings of abandonment and loss. The reassurance of one parent can only go so far in making a child feel secure about the other parent’s continued love and presence in their lives. Do not withhold visitations with your child’s other parent as punishment for your former partner, and make every effort to learn to coparent your child.

Act Like Parents
This means providing children with consistent discipline and avoiding any attempts to win the child’s love by acting like a friend or buying them excessive gifts. It is important to remain as consistent as possible when it comes to discipline in order to provide regularity in the child’s life. In addition, both parents need to agree on common rules so as not to confuse the child.

Maintain A Standard Routine
The regularity of routines can help a child feel safe. Maintain regular bedtimes while under either parent’s watch. Assign regular chores that your child is responsible for. Schedule consistent quality time with your child such as engaging in a fun activity every Sunday afternoon.

Let Kids Be Kids
While being a single mom and transitioning into single motherhood can be a difficult process, avoid making your children deal with adult decisions just because you are worn out. Children may also benefit from talking to their friends, so make sure your child has opportunities to socialize.

Be Respectful To The Other Parent
Kids are negatively affected when parents who have gone through a divorce do not respect one another. Parents should never argue or engage in conflict in front of the child, nor should they make biting remarks about each other when the other parent is gone. A child should never have to sense any underlying resentment as this can create anxiety and a sense of insecurity. Never use your child to spy on the other parent. Your children should not feel like they are caught in the middle.

Do Not Share Certain Details About The Divorce
Avoid sharing details about divorce papers, court matters, child support, and financial concerns. Too much detail about these matters can confuse your child and make them feel like they are caught in the middle. Do, however, answer your child’s questions about the divorce and remain sensitive to their concerns. Avoiding these matters can make your child feel dismissed and as though their feelings are not valued.

Seek Help When Needed
Do not be afraid to seek outside help during the transition following divorce. If you sense that your child could benefit from professional help such as counseling, do not hesitate to make the option available to him or her, even if you are doing your best to support your child. If your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program, make use of it and look into other programs that could help your child.

Have Fun
This may be the most important rule of all. While it is important not to ignore the personal difficulties that arise after a divorce, it is also important to remain positive and engage in fun activities to help relieve stress and pave the way to a great future. Let kids be kids, and be sure to provide a fun atmosphere for them. This will make children feel secure about the future and allow them to release their worries.

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