Study after study has confirmed that for most children, divorce is an upsetting life event but does not cause any permanent damage. This is incredibly hopeful news for both children of divorce and divorced parents. However, the promise of a brighter future is not always enough to calm divorce-related storms that occur during the divorce process and during its aftermath.
Regardless of what your child custody arrangements are, chances are that your children are currently being affected in some way by your divorce, especially if your divorce process is ongoing or you have divorced within the past few years. Parenting a child who is upset about your likely painful split from his or her other parent can be truly challenging. Thankfully, there are a few ways that you can help to ease the tensions and pain of your children’s divorce-related negativity.
First, please understand that your own reaction to your divorce will ultimately set the tone for how the divorce is processed in your home. If you take excellent care of yourself, manage your stress in healthy ways and maintain an honest, vulnerable and ultimately optimistic outlook, your children will eventually either take their cues from you or learn in various ways from your example.
Second, it is important to place yourself in your children’s shoes. Thinking about how you feel when your world seems to no longer make sense and is spinning out of control will help you to have empathy for your children and to understand what kinds of resources they may need in order to manage their negative emotions and reactions in healthy ways.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Staying Calm When Kids Lose It During Divorce,” Dr. Peggy Krueger Tietz, Jan. 13, 2014