Divorce is undeniably a hard time for the family. Several changes take place that one needs to cope with, such as the proceedings, life as a single parent and child custody in Louisiana. It is a difficult time that one must learn to conquer through.
While adults have the maturity and are better equipped to handle a divorce, a child needs special attention. It can be difficult for a child to process why these changes are happening and how exactly will life be different.
Here are some ways that you can help your child cope in this challenging time:
Tell them they are loved
It is a very natural tendency for children to blame themselves for the divorce. Your first step should be to tell them that they are and will always be loved and that this divorce doesn’t decrease how you and your spouse feel about them.
Don’t fight in front of them
Keep arguments, legal proceedings and Louisiana divorce law discussion away from the children. Try to have arguments in a separate room or after they have slept. Exposure to such negative experiences can have profoundly adverse effects on children’s emotions.
That being said, it is essential, however, to keep children in the loop of the changes. Your child should not feel that they do not have a say in things that are happening around them.
Let your child express
Let your child share their emotions. Disappointment, anger, sadness and even fear are feelings that they are bound to experience. Often a child will think that their parents are stressed enough already and sharing how they feel will only burden the parents more. Hence, it is essential that you encourage your child to say what they think and feel about the entire process. Ensuring your availability and spending time with them will facilitate better communication between you and them.
Get to the root of their tantrums
Children often act out after a divorce. This usually means that they are experiencing a range of negative emotions that need an outlet. Tantrums may be a call for attention and violence towards peers and pets may be an outlet for anger. It is, thus, vital to understand what is causing this behavior. This will help lead to a solution for it.
The process of living in two separate houses can be a disruption in a child’s daily life. Thus, you must try to provide as much consistency as you can. Did you have a movie night every Friday? Or did you often go for a picnic? Continue such routines wherever possible. It is also important that your child continues to pursue their hobbies.
Stick to your plans
Try coming through to whatever you have committed. A child can feel that the parent doesn’t love them anymore and doesn’t want to spend time with them. If such a situation arises that you definitely cannot go, do not keep them waiting for you. Call them, honestly explain why you could not be there and arrange your alternate meet. It may also be helpful to send a gift as a way of apologizing. However, this is only a one-time effort and is not compensation for your absence.
You can also make alternative arrangements in case your spouse does not show up. You can also encourage them to do the same. Take your child to the park, amusement park or for a movie. This will act as a distraction and will cheer up your child.
Don’t share your negative thoughts on your spouse
Sometimes, it is best to follow the advice ‘If you have nothing good to say, say nothing’. Discussing the negative opinions that you have of your spouse will tend to create an unhealthy bias and judgment. Moreover, children may feel they have to ‘pick sides’.
The effort remains that parents, divorced or non-divorced, should act as a team to give their child the most nurturing environment possible.