Divorce is never easy and occasionally, children can get lost in the process. We’re here to answer the question ‘How can I help my child through divorce?’ Parents may end up getting preoccupied with property and financial division, forgetting to check in on their children’s emotional and physical well-being during the process. MCG Legal recommend all parents focus on ‘what’s best for the kids’.
If you would like to know how to help your children through your divorce, then look at the actionable steps we have highlighted below to ensure the transition creates the least harm for your children!
Step 1 – Explain that your decision to separate is not their fault
Children tend to internalise problems of the family and it is likely that at one point or another, your children have wondered if your divorce is a product of something they have done. It’s essential that you explain the divorce in a simple straightforward way, and reassure your child that your decision to separate is not their fault. If possible, both parents should talk over how to explain the situation and have a discussion with the children jointly.
Step 2 – Be honest
Remember that children are very sensitive and absorb much more than we realise, particularly in situations of family conflict. So, rather than ignoring or sugar coating issues, explain what is happening in an age-appropriate, civil manner. However, don’t over-explain either. For instance, when explaining you are getting a divorce, tell the truth in a simple, direct way (i.e. “sometimes people grow apart, but we will always love you”). The essential takeaway is that you tell your child you love them and whilst you and your partner are separating, your love for them will never change.
Step 3 – Be patient
Be aware that when a family is going through a divorce, children can act up, withdraw or regress. They will need extra time, your support and open communication. Over time, your child will return to normal, however, it is important you do all you can to help. Try as you might, you will not be able to allay all of your children’s worries, so ensure you provide a reassuring, loving environment. Use your actions and words to assure your children of your unconditional love for them. If possible, planning some family events will give the kids the feeling that life will go on as usual.
Step 4 – Keep a consistent routine
It is important that your children’s routine remains consistent. For example, consistent bedtimes, doing homework at the same time each night, extracurricular activities all help children feel safe and secure, regardless of the circumstances around them. Sticking to a routine includes continuing to observe rules, discipline and rewards. For this reason, resist the urge to spoil your children, lest they favour one parent over the other.
Step 5 – Look after yourself
While this may seem like an egocentric step to include in a blog about how to help your children, it is actually really important. If you don’t take care of your own wellbeing, it is unlikely you will be able to take care of your child’s. If you are calm and take care of yourself during the process, your child will feel at ease. Make sure to regularly exercise, spending time with friends and family, and engage in activities/hobbies you enjoy. If you do these things, your transition will be much smoother. Your children will observe this, and feel healthier and happier, as a result.
At MCG Legal we have a number of legal representatives who are able to assist in resolving your family law matters. If you have any questions, please contact MCG Legal for more information or call us on (07) 5591 2222.