What do your kids have to say about your divorce?
Children may have a variety of reactions and responses when their parents are divorcing or separating. In this blog, we share some top tips for separated parents – From Children.
Divorce or separation can be a difficult and emotional experience for those involved. Not many people would argue that it is especially difficult when there are children to consider. After all, regardless of the reasons, they didn’t choose this to happen.
Depending on their age, personality, family situation, and how the separation is handled, children can experience a wide range of emotions and reactions when their parents split.
- Emotional distress: Children may experience anger, sadness, anxiety, guilt, and confusion. They may also have difficulty sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
- Behaviour changes: Children may exhibit changes in behaviour, such as acting out or becoming withdrawn. They may also have changes in academic performance or show a lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed.
- Sense of loss: Children may feel a sense of loss when their family changes. They may miss the stability of having both parents around, as well as the routines and traditions they once had.
- Loyalty conflicts: Children may feel torn between their parents and struggle with feeling loyal to both. They may feel pressure to take sides or feel guilty about spending time with one parent over the other.
- Adjusting to new family structures: Children may have to adjust to living in two different households or with a new stepparent or step-siblings. This can be a difficult adjustment for them.
There are many resources available to help parents navigate the process of co-parenting successfully. But today we thought it would be helpful to look at some tips for separated parents by turning the tables and gaining some perspective from the children’s viewpoint.
This powerful video shared by the NACCC, sends a very compelling message, about how children are impacted by separation and conflict.
While it’s important for parents to make decisions about their separation that prioritise their children’s needs, children should not be expected to be responsible for solving their parent’s problems. However, some children may have suggestions or opinions about how their parents can make the process easier for them.
Here are 5 top tips for separated parents – offered by children:
- “Please don’t argue in front of me.”
Children may feel uncomfortable or scared when their parents argue or fight, especially if they witness it first-hand. It’s important for parents to avoid arguing in front of their children and to find ways to communicate effectively and calmly.
- “Please listen to me and respect my feelings.”
Children may want to express their feelings and opinions about the divorce/separation and its impact on their lives. It’s important for parents to listen to their children and to validate their feelings, even if they don’t agree with them.
- “Please don’t make me choose between you.”
Children may feel pressured to take sides or choose between their parents. It’s important for parents to avoid putting their children in the middle and to work together to create a co-parenting plan that prioritises the children’s needs.
- “Please be consistent and keep your promises.”
Children may feel more secure and less anxious when their parents provide consistent routines and follow through on their commitments. It’s important for parents to be reliable and trustworthy, and to communicate clearly about expectations and changes in the schedule.
- “Please don’t bad-mouth each other.”
Children may feel caught in the middle when their parents speak negatively about each other. It’s important for parents to avoid bad-mouthing each other in front of their children and to model respectful communication and behaviour.
“Children are like wet cement: whatever falls on them, makes an impression” – Haim Ginott
It’s also important to remember that every child is different and may have their own unique perspective on a divorce or separation process. Parents should listen to their children’s concerns and try to work together to create a plan that supports their children’s well-being.
It’s not all bad news though. Research shows it is not the act of divorce that affects a child – there will be many children in their school whose parents are divorced – it is the way the divorce is managed and carried out. And that is something you can control yourself.
If you are struggling to communicate effectively or make decisions about your children’s care, you can consider a process like Family Mediation to help you find a way forward.
Another helpful platform, is Child Inclusive Mediation (CIM). This is a type of mediation that involves children in the mediation process, with the goal of helping parents understand their children’s needs and perspectives. Some potential benefits of CIM include Improved communication, Increased understanding and reduced conflict.
Contact us today to find out more about how family mediation can help separated parents.
0330 999 0959 or contact us at email@example.com