Many men and women that have gone through a divorce often describe it as being one of the most difficult times in their lives. When a couple who divorces has children, the emotional and financial impact of divorce are often magnified. All parents want what is best for their children, but some parents struggle with handling their own emotions and feelings related to a divorce while also providing a stable environment for their children.
While there are a number of stress-inducing factors in any divorce including the division of property, personal belongings and finances; few aspects of a divorce can compare to the stress associated with child custody matters. When going through a divorce, it's extremely important that parents set aside personal baggage related to the demise of the marriage and make a concerted effort to focus on providing a stable and conflict-free environment for shared children.
While many children of divorce experience difficulty coping with the many changes that accompany a divorce, there are ways parents can help a child better adjust. Once a child custody agreement has been decided upon, it's important to have honest and open discussions with a child about the terms of that agreement and what it means to them as far as where they will live and where they will go to school.
Some children of divorce may feel very powerless which can lead to acting out in various ways to gain control over some aspect of their life. A parent can help a child feel less powerless by allowing the child to vocalize their fears, wants and annoyances. While some of these things may be difficult for a parent to hear, it's important to allow a child to vent freely.
Along with open communication, it's also critical that parents are civil and pleasant to one another in a child's presence. For better or worse, a shared child forever bonds a couple together and divorced couples must find a way to effectively co-parent. Parents who are having an especially difficult time coping with the fallout of a divorce would be wise to seek the support of trusted family members and friends. In some cases, it can also be helpful to share fears and concerns with a professional therapist.
Source: The Huffington Post, "How to Help Your Children Cope With Divorce?," Michelle Rozen, June 6, 2013