For the rest of their lives, children of divorce often vividly recall the day their parents broke the news to them. Forthe Huffington Post writer, Rachel G. Scott, it’s a day that she’ll never forget.
She writes: “Questions ran through my mind. What does this mean for me? Where will I go? Will they still be friends? What now? These questions and many more bombarded my thoughts as I watched life, as I knew it, take many turns. Although I remained sane through the process, I continued to add questions to my list that I hoped someone at some point would stop and answer.”
But like many children of divorce, Scott never received the answers she so longed for from her parents. As she grew older, she realized that her parents were trying their best, just as she had tried when she got divorced. In an attempt to make things better, Scott bombarded her young children with new experiences to help them be happy. But later on, she found that this wasn’t the best way to go about it.
“Hindsight is 20/20 and this has proven to be true for me,” Scott writes. “My past experiences have taught me that there is a proper way to respond to a child after divorce. Although we may be in the habit of brushing things under the rug, this is not a healthy response for children or adults. Children need a safe place to land their thoughts, feelings, and emotions and we should be that safe place.”
But how does a parent handle a divorce? After all, it’s difficult in and of itself for an adult to grapple with such a life-altering change. Here are three ways that you can be there for your child while dealing with the divorce on your own:
- Be a safe space for your child
It’s likely your child will have a lot of emotions about the divorce, both good, bad, and everything in between. Make sure that you’re a safe space for them to share their innermost thoughts and feelings.
- Ask your child questions
People often forget to ask when children need and are feeling throughout such a harrowing process. Make sure to ask open-ended questions that illicit conversation.
- Spare them the drama
While communication is important, that doesn’t mean that they should hear about what your divorce attorney has to say and the outcome of custody trials. Allow your child to formulate their own opinion about your ex-spouse.
Divorce is difficult enough on its own. With roughly 42% of all marriages ending in divorce, don’t be scared to lean on a divorce attorney through your time of difficulty. Almost 88% of all child custody cases are decided by a court of law, and 11% are decided through mediation. A divorce attorney will provide you with sound logic and advocacy when you need it most.
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