Parents do not take the decision to divorce lightly. Many worry about the future, but mostly about how their children will take the news.
Various sources discuss the effect that divorce can have on children, only making parents worry more. However, it is important to understand why divorce is so difficult for kids, so you can take a conscious approach to this next chapter of your family’s life.
A child’s development is a big factor
Divorce is difficult for everyone involved. It is especially hard for children because change itself is difficult for them to process. As Psychology Today points out:
- Young children have little to no experience with change
- Children are still developing mentally and emotionally
Essentially, children do not have the capacity to regulate their emotions to handle change the way adults do. They do not yet have the critical thinking skills to process life changes. It is critical to note that any significant life change can be hard for children to deal with, from their parents’ divorce to the loss of a loved one, or even relocating.
How can you help your child during this time?
Navigating the changes of divorce will be a challenge for the whole family. Even if it is an amicable divorce. It can help if you and your spouse:
- Stay conscious of your child’s age and stage of development when discussing divorce
- Actively choose to have a child-centered divorce
- Remember the importance of stability and security in a child’s life
- Intentionally avoid conflict, at least in front of the kids
As we have mentioned in previous blog posts, parental conflict has the largest negative impact on children when their parents’ divorce. Being aware of that and managing conflict can help immensely to make this process easier on both you and your children.
Remember: Be gentle
It is important to do what is best for you. If a divorce is the healthy and best choice for you and your ex-spouse, then you should not regret moving forward with it.
However, it is also important for both parents to protect their children. Carefully consider what is in their best interest. Be gentle with them, give them time and guide them through these changes. This is an emotional process for everyone. Leading with gentleness and empathy can make a big difference.