A divorce is the legal way of ending a marriage. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is not that simple when there is a child in the middle, a child who has to face the brutal reality of his parents breaking up. His parents that he or she equally loves, the parents that were always saw as a couple, a team, a family. A divorce is considered the second most traumatic even, after the death of a loved one.
Besides the sadness and the emptiness in the hearts and souls of those who choose separate ways, a divorce will have a tremendous impact on the children as well. The bright side of things is that most of the times you can change the way your children goes through this process.
It is well known that children react very differently during or after a divorce, most of the time their pain being more severe than the pain of the partners that are breaking up. Every child is unique, every child has his own personality and own development rhythm.
Not married, but still parents
What is important to understand is that a divorce is a separation between a husband and a wife, not a separation between the parents. So, even if most of the times, after a divorce the child will stay with the mom, because she is the one that can best address his physical, psychological and emotional needs, the father should definitely be in the picture as well.
Love, love, love
The most important thing you, and by you I mean both mother and father should do during and after a divorce is to show your children that you love them. Show them you love them like you never did before. A child might consider himself or herself guilty for the break up or might wander “what it is going to happen to me now?” so you need to show your love more than ever, in every way you possibly can.
Doctor Gary Chapman, a marriage and family life expert points out five different love languages: words, touch, gifts, services and quality time. Each person has a primary love language, you have a primary love language and your child has one. Find out what it is and show your love.
Another important tip is to surround your child with supportive friends and family, and yes this includes the both parents. Remember, you might not be a couple anymore but you will still are parents and your kid needs both of you.
Last tip I would like to share with you just sit down and explain things to your child. Depending on the age children might not even know what a divorce is, they might get scared, so communication is really, really important. The number one factor that is going to determine how your kids are going to react and adjust after a divorce is how conflict between the parents is managed and how you communicate these things to your kids.