Parents seek to protect their children whenever possible. Unfortunately, there are times when parents cannot completely prevent uncomfortable, confusing or painful situations.
Having parents that are going through the divorce process is one of those unfortunate situations. However, there are a few strategies parents can employ to help decrease the impact of divorce on a child.
The divorce process is life changing, so it is understandable for children to have questions. One of the most effective strategies that professionals suggest is for parents to talk with their children. It is important that parents take time to explain what is happening, and that it is a situation between the two parents that the child did not contribute to. It is quite common for childrent to blame themselves for their parents' divorce, so disproving that thought as soon as possible is key. Along with creating open dialogue with the child, parents should work on a healthy means of communication between themselves, both in the presence of the child and privately.
Parents should strive to be mentally and physically present whenever possible. Being able to identify changes in behavior and desires can provide critical clues to how a child is coping with the divorce. Whenever possible, parents should work together to share custody and be flexible when need be, such as special events, vacations or unexpected emergencies. As for usual holidays, it may be beneficial to build a holiday schedule into the agreement.
Some children are able to self soothe, while others need outside support when dealing with situations. Understanding this and seeking the appropriate assistance is essential. It may be beneficial to seek counseling for the child and the family as well.
Employing these strategies may be useful, but they are not the only possible options. Parents should consider their children's specific personalities and needs to determine the best possible way to help the children overcome any struggles they may have during or after the divorce process.