Change is difficult for most people, but children are especially susceptible to emotional distress when their routines get disrupted. A drastic change like their parents’ divorce must be carefully handled, with the child’s needs at the forefront.
How can you prepare your child for this new lifestyle and parenting dynamic?
If it is safe and reasonable to do so, you and your spouse should break the news together. Having both parents present and communicating the same message will show your child that you will continue to be there for them. While it is important to have this conversation sooner rather than later, you may not want to broach the subject until the divorce process has started.
Make sure they understand they are in no way responsible for the separation. Reassure them that some things will stay the same. Children feel safe with stability, so find ways to maintain the status quo with your child.
Prioritize family time
Let them know that you will continue to be at every soccer game, that you love them even if you live in a different house and that they can call you to talk about their day anytime they want. This communication is important to lay the foundation of your new relationship, as well as quell the fears that will inevitably take form within your child. However, you must also follow through on your promises.
Giving consistent time and attention to your kids following a divorce provides comfort during a difficult time, as well as strengthens your relationship with them.