For divorcing parents in Kentucky, one thing worse than facing the reality of a dissolving marriage is having to tell the kids. Just as parents have to learn the ins and outs of parenting, the same is true of navigating the waters of divorce with children.
TeensHealth offers words of wisdom for helping kids through divorce. Knowing what to do and say during this time can create a foundation for healing for children and parents alike.
Understand that fairness is key
Parents should ensure that they do not, either inadvertently or inadvertently, make their kids feel that they have to take sides. Usually, this happens when parents make their kids responsible for any bitterness or anger they feel about the divorce. The kids become pawns, and parents can drive a wedge between themselves and their children.
Maintain the peace
Sometimes, divorce kicks off a time of arguments and subtle jabs between parents. Kids can become casualties to verbal barbs and outright screaming matches. For the sake of the children’s mental and emotional health, parents should work hard to create an environment of peace and find a way to work out disagreements privately out of sight and out of earshot of their children.
Keep the lines of communication open
Mom and Dad also need to keep in touch with their kids during the split. With the amount of time, attention and paperwork involved in divorce, it can become easy to forget to reach out to kids and let them know that they remain in their parents’ thoughts. Without this degree of diligence, children may come to feel neglected and unimportant.
Discuss the future
Kids’ minds can start to spiral out of control thinking about how divorce impacts them. Will they have to move? Will they still be able to go to college if the cost of divorce drains their parents’ bank accounts? Parents should sit down and talk to their kids about what their future looks like, opening the floor to questions.
Divorce can be just as taxing on kids and teens as it is on parents. Hopefully, these tips can smooth the waters.