Each year, the statistics are climbing for divorce. Several years ago, The Americans for Divorce Reform estimated that “Probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue.” There are so many reasons for this, however they aren’t as important as helping the child survive divorce. For a child, divorce can be just as hard as the death of a parent. Maintaining a positive environment and lowering stress can help tremendously for a child.
Separation or a divorce often leaves parents angry with each other, and children confused and sometimes even blaming themselves. This can cause friction, tension and just generally bad relations between the two parents and often, the children.
Use the following tips to avoid problems and to find ways to survive the divorce:
- Don’t fight in front of the children. Period. Especially if the argument pertains to them. This can leave a child blaming themselves for the situation. Instead talk to your pediatrician, or enroll your child in a children of divorce class. Or consider allowing them to see a psychologist so they can deal with their many feelings about the divorce.
- Do not involve your child in your disagreements. It is never ok to include a child in an argument. Keep them out of it. If they have a question about what is going on, try answering as openly and honestly as you can, without divulging too much information.
- Never force your child to take sides. This is just plain wrong and it happens a lot. Every child will have loyalties to both parents. Requiring them to “side with you” is unfair to the child. They should not even be involved enough to have the opportunity to choose sides.
- Discuss your concerns and feelings with your child’s other parent when and where your child cannot hear.
- Don’t criticize each other in front of your child. Even if you find out the other parent is saying bad things about you, explain to your child that people sometimes say mean things when they are angry.
- Never allow your child to hear you say anything bad about the other parent. (even if it is true). We need to teach our children sympathy and compassion. Discuss instead with your child, that everyone is different and that sometimes that two people who got married are so different that they cannot remain married.
- Reassure your child that both parents love them. This is a must. Remind your children that the other parent loves them just as much as you do. That they are sad about the situation too, but that they will always love them.
Just remember to always think of the children involved. As long as you place them first, you cannot possibly go wrong.