While it’s hard to avoid the fact that getting divorced is likely to have a negative impact on your kids in some way or another, there are some things that parents can do to reduce this impact. Kids tend to thrive best in a home that is stable and safe for them, and the truth is that this will happen regardless of whether or not their parents are together. Many parents make the mistake of staying together “for the sake of the children” but they are not happy together and kids do notice this, which can sometimes make this situation more harmful to the child than a well-handled divorce.
If a divorce is handled badly, however, it can have a very negative impact on your children. It may cause them emotional trauma that will vary depending on the level of conflict between you as the parents. If you are getting a divorce, here are some of the main ways to reduce the impact on your kids.
Keep your kids in the loop
Many adults do not give children the credit that they deserve when it comes to situations like getting a divorce. While it might seem easier not to talk to your kids about divorce, or that keeping it from them will be less harmful, the truth is your kids will know something is wrong. So, talking to them about the divorce will make it easier for them to prepare for the inevitable when one parent no longer lives with them.
Make a plan to talk with your kids about the divorce; doing this together is possible. Make sure that your kids know that the divorce is not their fault, nothing is going to change how much either of you loves them, and that it’s okay for them to be sad about it.
Avoid fighting in front of the kids
It can be hard to keep your emotions in check when a marriage reaches its end. Disappointments, insults, and betrayals might still be fresh in your mind. Also, unresolved issues from your marriage might be coming to the surface.
During this time, it can be easy to just not hold back when it comes to telling your ex-partner exactly what you think of them. However, witnessing this action can be very harmful to kids. It may cause fear, anxiety, and depression. Essentially, they feel like the safety of their family is collapsing around them.
Put the child’s needs first
The effects of divorce on children are often compounded when the parents focus more on the divorce and fighting with their ex-partner, rather than focusing on the children. This mistake can sometimes lead to the kid’s needs being ignored. Perhaps you as the parent mistakenly believe that they are okay, but that’s not always the case.
According to psychologist Gabor Mate, it is not the traumatic effect itself that impacts the child, but how they are supported or not supported through it. You can learn more about the effects of divorce on children from Onward. Onward provides a handy co-parenting app that you can use with your ex-partner. The app is designed for sharing expenses, allowing you to easily add any expenses that they need to pay towards and send each other payments.
Come up with a plan for co-parenting
Children will still be able to grow up healthy and happy despite their parents getting a divorce if they are provided with safety and consistency throughout the legal process. No matter what has happened between you and your ex-partner, or how much you would love to never see or speak to them again, it is important that you both agree on providing this stability for your children.
It’s a wise idea to come up with a co-parenting plan with the help of a professional if needed. That ensures that you are both on the same page and can provide your children with the consistency they need from this point on.
Talk about the positive side of divorce
For many kids, their parents getting a divorce can actually be a positive experience once they have gotten over the initial shock of the situation. Firstly, it is generally better now if parents were in conflict a lot before; the children will now be living in more peaceful environments.
The change can even be fun when kids have two bedrooms, two birthdays, and two Christmases every year. So, it’s always worth encouraging your kids to see the bright side, which will be easier when you’re co-parenting successfully and prioritizing their needs.
A few last words
While divorce will always have an impact on children, how the parents handle this will make a big difference. It can either turn the divorce into a huge trauma that follows them for life, or a smaller event that they will be able to process and handle with the right support.