After the Divorce: Tips to Help Children Cope following a Divorce
By following the tips mentioned in the last post, parents can be sure they have done everything possible to make sure their children are prepared going into the divorce. But a divorce is not something that anyone in the family will easily forget. Children often struggle with many intense emotions both during and after the divorce.
Guilt, as was mentioned previously, is one of the main ones. Children often blame themselves for the divorce. They simply do not understand that the divorce was due to an issue between mom and dad and not something they are responsible for. Parents should continue to remind their children that the divorce was a decision that mom and dad made and not something that the children are responsible for. Feeling unloved was also addressed in the previous post but must be kept in mind following the divorce as well. Children look up to their parents as role models and teachers. When a child sees mom and dad stop loving each other, it is only natural that they might also feel that one day mom or dad may also stop loving them too. Both parents can help alleviate this fear by frequent reassurance that they still love the child and always will.
Another important thing to keep in mind early on in the divorce is the idea of a regular visitation schedule. The insecurity that children feel both during and after the divorce is very real for them. By immediately setting and following a regular visitation schedule, parents can help alleviate some of this insecurity. A set schedule will show children that even though mom and dad are now divorced, they will still get to visit and spend time with both parents. During this time, both parents can reassure the children that they are loved and offer further reassurance that the divorce was not their fault. And in between visits the other parent can always call the children just to say "hi" and let them know they are still thinking about them.
In the next post I will continue looking at additional pointers that parents can follow to make the adjustment following a divorce as bearable as possible for children. We will cover the need for consistent rules at both households, the need for mom and dad to get along and not argue in front of the children, the benefit of one on one time with the children during visits, and other related topics.