Ways to support children through a parental divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2022 | Divorce |

It’s safe to say that no person gets married with the hope of one day divorcing their spouse. Divorce is never the intention nor is it easy, but for some marriages in Illinois, it can become the only option. If you are a parent who is going through divorce, you’re likely concerned about how this experience will affect your kids. As tough as a marital breakup is for spouses, it can be even more difficult for the children involved.  

While it’s true that you likely have your differences with your ex-spouse, it is also true that you both only want what is best for your kids. Thankfully, if you and your ex are both willing to cooperate for your children and listen to their needs, the children can thrive despite your divorce. Here are a few ways to help children cope with divorce and adjust to their new normal. 

Alleviating anxiety 

The many changes that come with divorce often make children anxious. You may begin to notice signs of anxiety in your kids, such as trouble sleeping, clinginess, complaints of stomach aches or just general nervousness. First off, ease your own worries by knowing that anxiety is completely normal for children who go through divorce.  

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help alleviate your child’s fears and worries. For starters, be transparent and let them know what they can expect with their new arrangements or what their day-to-day will look like. Also, make it a priority to establish a routine. Consistency will provide reassurance and stability in their lives. 

Be cooperative and civil with the other parent 

Never speak negatively about your ex-spouse in front of the children. Keep in mind that the children have love for their other parent as well. Conflict will inevitably arise in your co-parenting relationship, but be willing to cooperate with your ex and work through it together. Saying bad things or being disrespectful to the other parent in front of your kids will create unnecessary conflict or friction in the children’s relationships with their parents, and that is never healthy. 

Support is crucial 

Enlisting the support of others is one of the best ways to help children during this difficult time. Allow children to spend time with grandparents or other family members whom they love. Also, schools sometimes offer services for children whose parents have divorced. Talk to your child’s teacher or school counselor and ask if there are any support services available at their school. 

Remember to get support for yourself, especially if you are struggling. Family or close friends usually want to help out, so lean on them and ask for favors if you’re feeling overwhelmed. For legal questions, there is professional assistance readily available for that, too. Seeing a therapist or counselor can be very helpful if you need to talk or get things off your chest. At the end of the day, remember that you are not alone, and your children will feel supported if you have support as well.