Even when divorce is in the best interest of your family unit, it will still have a significant impact on children. Most children experience numerous effects after divorce, and many worry that their relationship with their parents will change drastically. Some children also develop mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
You can mitigate the negative effects of divorce by talking to your children in an appropriate manner. The following are a few ways parents can support their family when making tough decisions.
Make sure your child feels loved
Children naturally believe that the divorce will affect their loving bond with their parents. Make sure your child understands that the split will not affect their parental bonds, and in fact might make their family unit stronger since stress and conflict will reduce. Support your child in every way and make yourself available for questions or reassurance, but never discuss the details of the divorce with your child. Above all, they need to feel free to continue to be children and not take on any adult responsibilities.
Be consistent with discipline
Consistent discipline helps prevent problematic behaviors. That means both you and your former spouse should discuss and hopefully agree on things like curfew, study time, and other topics. If you cannot seem to come to an agreement, consider drafting a new parenting plan that includes information on disciplinary measures.
Avoid conflict when possible
Even minimal conflict between divorced parents causes stress in children. When conversing with your ex-spouse about child-rearing issues, keep the tone civil and respectful. Make decisions in the best interests of your children, even if you do not feel kindly towards your ex. If you have trouble communicating in person, stick with email and text or a co-parenting app to reduce tension.
Some parents choose to seek counseling to help their children cope. A therapist can provide an objective view of the situation, while also helping your child untangle their complex emotions and begin to heal.