Guest Blogger, Brooke Chaplan
Divorce is a situation that occurs in many households, and if you and your spouse have decided to separate, you should know that you are not alone. Resources certainly exist to help you cope with this new experience, and some of those resources can also help your children. Here are just some of the ways you can help a child cope with his or her parents’ divorce.
Have a Plan
When you first tell your children about the divorce, you likely do not have a detailed plan for exactly how the situation is going to play out. Still though, you can have at least the start of a plan. For example, maybe you have already decided that the children will spend the school weeks with one parent and weekends with the other, or perhaps you can set a schedule for holidays due to religious beliefs that are different from your partner’s. Some of the concerns that arise with divorce have to do with the unknown, and offering children some stable answers can help.
Seek Professional Guidance
You might think that you and your spouse will work through all of the details independently and that you don’t need to seek professional help. However, since you are navigating a new situation, you likely do not realize all of the obstacles that could come in the way. Instead of trying to manage these challenges independently, work with a divorce attorney. This person can help you to make decisions that benefit both your family members and yourself. Without professional guidance, more stress can manifest for you, your partner and your children.
If you’ve ever been on a long vacation from work, you may have found that you were craving to get back into a routine at the end of that break. Children can thrive on routines as well. Too many big changes at once can cause additional irritation and stress for your kids. Work to keep them in their regular activities, to bring them to social events with their friends and to prepare meals on a schedule. As you do this, make sure that your children know that they can come to you with any questions they have. Let them take a break if they need to in order to cope, but have the routine in place for when they come back to it.
Do Something Special
In the midst of the divorce, new living arrangements and overall adjustments for everyone, planning any other sort of activity might seem ludicrous. However, think about several months from now when you will likely have at least found a new normal for yourself. Put a special date in the calendar that your kids can look forward to. Depending upon time, budgetary concerns and other factors, you can make this outing as large or as small as necessary and desired.
Children are certainly affected by divorce to varying degrees. Committing to and implementing some strategies can help to make the situation as positive as possible for your kids.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan