After deciding to divorce, one thing that most parents dread is telling their children. They worry: How will they take the news? How will they adapt to life after the divorce?
Parents know that each of their children is unique. Therefore, they must remember that each child will process the divorce in their own unique way. Here are a few tips for parents to consider as they approach this conversation and their divorce.
1. Check in on each child individually
Many sources recommend parents sit down together with their children when they first tell them they have decided to divorce. This shows children their parents still form a united front – at least when it comes to parenting.
However, parents should also consider:
- Sitting down with each child individually after first informing the children
- Checking in on each child regularly after that to see how they are feeling
This might seem intuitive to many parents, but navigating the stress of divorce and the new chapter after divorce can be overwhelming. Even so, it is critical for North Carolina parents to remember to prioritize their children’s best interests at every step.
2. Reactions differ by age too
Of course, it is natural that children of different ages will have very different reactions and experiences. They are at different stages of development and maturity after all.
If you have children of different ages, it can help to understand the specific ways that they might react to the divorce. This can help you prepare to handle these reactions effectively and with compassion.
3. Watch for signs of stress
Depending on their age, children exhibit stress in very different ways. Throughout the process of your divorce, it is important to be on the lookout for these signs in your children, including:
- Acting out and becoming irritable
- Withdrawing and isolating
- Difficulty sleeping or wetting the bed
- Experiencing excessive stomach aches
Children may not exhibit all of these signs, but it is helpful to be aware of them in advance. If these signs become serious, or children develop signs of depression or anxiety, it might be necessary to seek professional mental health help for your child. However, making sure your children know you are there for them – and that they are loved – can make a big difference in this situation.