As you go through the upheaval of a divorce, it's important to remember that your child may be struggling with anxiety and uncertainty as well. During this nerve-racking time, you can help put your child's fears to rest by offering the support and encouragement he or she needs. Here are a few common mistakes that some parents make during the strain of an impending divorce (and how to avoid them so your child may adjust):
1. Laying the Blame or Being Openly Disrespectful to Your Spouse
Regardless of your personal feelings toward your spouse, airing those emotions in front of your child may only make him or her more resentful or upset. The rule of thumb: no name calling. You need to to refrain from spewing insults directed toward your spouse while in the presence of your child.
Although your child might ask why you're divorcing, you don't need to offer any particulars relating to your marital strife. Children do not need to hear the private details surrounding their parents' relationship. Rather than making a statement such as, "We're getting a divorce because your dad was seeing another woman", simply say: "We don't get along anymore."
2. Playing An Emotional Tug of War
One of the biggest mistakes a parent can make in the midst of a divorce is forcing the child to take sides. Your child may love both parents equally and should not be coerced into the position of choosing loyalty solely to one or the other. When forced into doing so, your child may become resentful and angry.
For the child's well-being, parents should divide their time equally, allowing the child to spend quality time with both Mom and Dad. It's best to put a plan in motion right from the start. Work out a schedule that is agreeable to both you and your spouse and stick to it. Children of divorced parents need structure and consistency in their lives.
3. Assigning the Child as Go-Between or Messenger
Do not make the mistake of placing your child in the middle by asking him or her to deliver a message to your spouse. Placing this responsibility (particularly on a young child) may create more stress, especially as the child is subject to your spouse's reaction to the message.
4. Failing to Reassure the Child
During this stressful time, parents need to reiterate that Mom and Dad are divorcing each other, not the child. Your child needs to know that he or she will continue to be loved by both parents. At the same time, tell your child the divorce is not due to anything he or she has said or done. Some children feel guilty when parents divorce, and your reassurance can help him or her overcome these feelings.
5. Not Providing a Strong Support System
Sometimes, even with the love and support of the parents, children find it difficult to adjust to a divorce. If your child seems depressed, angry or is displaying behavioral issues at home or in school, professional counseling may be beneficial. If a child is unwilling to talk with a parent, professional intervention offers the opportunity to express pent-up feelings with a stranger.
You might consider group therapy, with children and parents participating. This encourages communication between all family members involved. Alternatively, individual counseling will provide one-on-one support with the counselor and the child. Either way, choose a counselor experienced in dealing with children and divorce. You can find a counselor at a facility like Associated Psychologists & Counselors.
Although divorce is never easy on a child, you can help ease the transition. As you deal with the uncertainty of a divorce, don't neglect your child's feelings at this critical time in his or her life. Address the issues your child is facing and avoid making mistakes that may result in emotional problems for him or her later in life.
Valentine’s Day is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year. My husband and I always shower each other with gifts and affection at this time. But, for some couples, this special day is another sad reminder of their unhappy relationships. If you and your spouse have hit a rough patch in your marriage recently, why not take Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to invest in your relationship? You can accomplish this task by visiting a local reputable marriage counselor. This professional can work with the two of you on communication skills, division of household chores, issues of forgiveness, and many other problems. On this blog, you will discover how to utilize a counselor this Valentine’s Day.