Helping Children Cope: Addressing Emotional Challenges Post-Divorce

In this article we’re sharing tips on addressing your child’s emotional challenges post divorce and helping them to cope with their changed circumstances.

 

In the wake of divorce, children often find themselves caught in the crosscurrents of conflicting emotions, struggling to make sense of the changes in their family dynamics. The disruption of familiar routines, shifting living arrangements, and witnessing the emotional strain between parents can take a toll on their mental and emotional well-being. 

Divorce tends to bring with it a lot of changes and, as hard as it can be for adults, it can be devastating for the kids. Family law solicitors in Stafford can help with an array of family law issues such as child arrangements to ease the impact on children and parents involved, but there’s still a lot of emotion to address at home. 

In this article, we explore the profound impact of divorce on children and delve into effective strategies and support systems that can help them navigate the complexities of their emotions, fostering resilience and a sense of security in the face of change. 

What Emotional Challenges do Children Face Following a Divorce?

When their parents make the decision to divorce, this can have a significant impact on a child’s mental health and wellbeing. During this time, it’s normal for the child to face a number of emotional challenges including: 

• Sadness

• Anger

• Fear

• Uncertainty

This will often result in the child acting out and using silence or aggression to express how they are feeling. 

How to Address Emotional Challenges Post Divorce

Make Your Child Feel Heard 

The divorce process can be all consuming and this can often mean that children don’t feel ‘heard’. Make sure that you set aside time to have proper conversations with your child about what’s happening and how they feel about it. 

This will give you the opportunity to allay any fears that they may have about the future and to also ask you questions. It’s important, throughout the entire process, to reassure your child that, even though some things are going to change, they still have two parents who love them very much and who will both remain in their lives. 

Introduce New Surroundings With Confidence 

If the divorce means that your child is going to have to live in a new home and / or attend a new school, this will naturally be a little scary for them. Set aside time to take your child to the new home or school and have a look around. 

In many instances a child’s concerns will simply be a fear of the unknown – particularly if they have only ever lived in one house or gone to one school. 

By physically showing the house or school to your child, you can help them to get used to the idea and, now that they’ve seen it for themselves, may even become excited by the change.

It can also be a good idea to introduce a new activity such as a local club or playgroup to help your child to see the change in a more positive light. As a bonus, this can also help both you and your child to make new friends as you embark on your post-divorce life. 

Continuity Between Houses 

After your divorce, the biggest change for your child will be having their parents living in separate homes. You and your former partner can help to make this transition easier for your child by working together to make sure that there are consistencies in each home. 

For example, ensuring that your child has favourite toys and clothes in each household and maintaining consistent routines such as mealtimes and bedtimes.  

Use Resources to Help Explain Situations 

 

Depending on your child’s age, there are some great tools that you can use to help you to explain what the divorce means. Books like Phil Earle’s “Two Places To Call Home” are a great way of telling your child about the divorce in language that they can understand. 

Seek Professional Help Where Needed

While it’s only natural to want to help your child yourself, it can sometimes be beneficial to seek professional assistance. Child therapists and counsellors have a wealth of experience when it comes to encouraging kids to talk about how they are feeling about major life events such as their parents separating. 

During your divorce, you will most likely be dealing with your own strong emotions including a sense of loss which can be compared to grieving for a loved one. Managing your child’s emotions as well as your own can be a lot to deal with and so it can be helpful to have a professional on board – both for you and your child. 

Helping your children cope with divorce… 

 

As we’ve shown in this article, there are some practical ways in which you can help your child to adjust to the changes following your divorce but, possibly the most important thing to do is to give him or her time. 

Your child must be allowed to grieve the loss of their old life before learning to love their new one and it won’t always be possible to speed up the process. The most important thing you can do for your child following your divorce is to listen – both to what they’re telling you and what they’re not telling you. 

Get into the habit of asking your child questions about how they’re feeling as this will encourage him or her to ask you questions in return. 

Finally, although it may not seem like it now, things will get better and your child will be OK. In many cases, before the divorce, the child will have been living in a household full of tension and hostility, in which case, once he or she has adapted, you will most likely have a happier child on your hands – and one who has two loving homes instead of an unhappy one. 

 

 

Last Updated on 4 weeks by Lavania Oluban

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