As I have written in my earlier blogs, children will have negative reaction to their parents’ divorce. How to minimize their pain will depend on how divorcing couples handle their divorce situations and how they behave, especially in front of their children.
Children need to understand what is going on so they don’t feel “left in the dark” and out of control. However, they don’t need to know every dirty detail and every angry remark you make while you are being separated. Provide truthful information which is age appropriate, emphasize that divorce is not their fault and that your love for them will not change.
Do not bad-mouth the other parent to your children, even though you may feel angry and frustrated with him/her, and even though you absolutely truly believe that your ex-partner is totally in the wrong. When you do bad-mouth, children feel that they need to take sides and that increases their feeling of guilt.
Another trap many divorcing parents fall for is that they use their children as confidantes. Doing that will make your children feel guilty towards the other parent. Also this way you may overburden them with the information that they absolutely do not need and thus increase their already high stress level.
It is a very good idea to consult with a mental health professional on how to help your children cope with your divorce, especially if you feel that the situation gets out of control. If both parents can work with the same mental health professional to minimize their children’s pain and stress, that would create a more stable environment for them.
Another very important tip for the divorcing parents is to be as consistent as possible, especially when it comes to visiting and keeping plans. Your children have just experienced a major loss in their lives. By keeping the routines going you help them to maintain some normalcy and equilibrium in their lives.