10 Ways to help your child through your divorce
Article10 Ways to help your child through a divorceWe are told that 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Forty one percent of first marriages, sixty percent of second marriages and seventy three percent of third marriages (http://www.mckinleyirvin.com/Family-Law-Blog/2012/October/32-Shocking-Divorce-Statistics.aspx) Children are at most risk for suffering adverse stress when their parents are divorcing. Even though they may be quiet about what is happening to them, you can expect that internally they are not just doing fine.Number 1. Make sure that your children know that whatever happens in the divorce that both parents still love and support them. Make your time with your child count. Be present for them when you are spending time with them, dont take them to be babysat at Grandmas for the day because you dont want the responsibility. They are your kids, make time for them.Number 2. Be physically affectionate with them. Make sure that you hug your children each day. Children need to know that their parents love and support them and one way that you can do this is to be physically responsive to them. Trust me, when they get older and dont want all those hugs, you will miss them.Number 3. Have fun with your kids. Dont try to buy their love but do try and make memories with your children. These are the things that they will remember when they grow up, not the toys or treasures that you bought them but the amount of time that you spent with them. Take pictures and make sure your child has a picture of you and them together. They may need it to look back on when times are difficult.Number 4. Never downgrade the other parent in front of your child. Even if your ex-partner did horrible things to you, dont discuss this with your child. Children are not grown ups. Their little brains are not done developing and they dont know how to process all the conflicting information they are getting.Number 5. . Be prepared to answer questions but make the answers simple and age appropriate. They dont need details. When they are grown and can handle more grown up information they will be able to understand more.Number 6. Play with your children. Some of the best therapy is done through play. This is the childs way of expressing what is inside. They need to play and they need your undivided attention when you play with them. Some themes may come out in pretend play such as mommy and daddy getting divorced, go along with them on their journey and see where it takes you.Number 7. Make sure that some of their time is structured, especially around bed times and where they are sleeping. Children do better if they have a set schedule and are sleeping in their own bed. Dont allow them to sleep on the couch and watch TV before falling asleep. The light from the TV will keep them awake long after they need to be sleeping. Children under the age of 18 need a good 9 hours of sleep a night. As a parent, it is your job to make sure that they are sleeping in a place that is comfortable and that is safe.Number 8. Being a single parent is the number one hardest job you will ever do in your life. If you are a working single parent it is going to be even more difficult. The most difficult time for families with small children is right after school or work when things are winding down at home and dinner time. Make this time fun and relaxing by cooking simple meals that the kids can help with. This will let them know that they are a special part of the family and that what they have to offer is important.Number 9. Make sure that the children are able to stay in contact with as many security anchors as possible, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and the same school that they were attending. Even if it means that you have to drive them to school across town, they may need that comfort of knowing the familiar surroundings and not having everything changed all at once.Number 10. Make sure that your children know that no matter what they said or did, they did nothing to lead to the divorce. Make sure that they know it is not their fault. It is surprising that many children actually believe that they could have done something different or said something different and that their parents would still be together. Make sure they know that they are not to blame.