A family separation is never an easy experience for anyone involved, but it is common knowledge that children often take a particularly heavy toll when parents decide to call it quits. Fortunately, there are many ways to ensure that kids make it through a family separation unscathed; here are just a few tips to help you help your children through a tough situation.
Understand the Viewpoint of Your Children
A key concept of child psychology has it that children tend to internalize problems around them even if those problems are totally unrelated to their own behavior. Before adulthood, children tend to view cause and effect largely in terms of their own actions, in other words; despite having nothing to do with a separation or divorce, a child may believe that they caused a rift in their parents’ relationship through their own decisions. Needless to say, reiterating to our children that this is not the case is vital for their self-esteem and mental development.
Let Your Kids Know How Much You Love Them
If you’re typically the strong, silent type as a parent, now might be a good time to practice clear communication about your feelings with your kids; children experiencing the separation of their parents need to know that each parent loves them unconditionally, a concept that can be difficult to grasp if it is not verbalized. While it isn’t always easy to regularly and consistently tell others that we love them, doing so for our kids’ sake can ensure that they will come away from a separation with their sense of well-being intact.
Instill the Value of Communication
Now is also a great time to show your children the value of strong communication skills. It’s necessary that we tell our kids that we love them, but it’s also vital to have them tell us about how they feel about a given family issue. By encouraging children to be honest and clear about how their emotions, we’ll teach them that problems in life are best solved by open communication.
Make Time for Your Kids
Planning for the future and discussing the terms of a separation with a family attorney can be physically and emotionally exhausting for a parent, and time with the kids is often the first thing to go by the wayside when family members decide to move forward with their lives. When a couple no longer lives together, it can be especially difficult to get quality time with the children; by setting up a great schedule for parenting time now, however, we can often make quality time for our kids that truly helps them through the process of a separation.
With the right amount of effort, there is an enormous amount that we can do as parents to help our children cope with the stress of parental separation. By clearly expressing our feelings, setting aside time for our kids, and setting a good example for them throughout the process, our children will come away stronger than ever from a difficult period in their lives. And that is what good parenting is all about.