Divorce is a tough concept for a young child to grasp. Even if it is explained to them in gentle, age-suitable language, they may not understand. In addition to feeling sad, bewildered and unsettled, they might wrongly think they are somehow to blame.
Maybe they assume that they were naughty, and you and your spouse got fed up and called it quits. Perhaps they want to help resolve the problems the two of you had, believing that they can intervene and then Mommy and Daddy will be united and happy again.
It can be truly heartbreaking to watch youngsters struggle to cope with this baffling new trauma that has impacted the family. However, as a caring, concerned parent, you can take some actions to lessen the burden on your child and steer them through this difficult time.
Talk to your youngster about your and your ex’s split
Having conversations about what happened can reduce your child’s anxiety and clarify the situation, at least to a degree. Be prepared to have more than one discussion and be open to answering your youngster’s questions.
- Have compassion and patience. Working through this may take your child some time.
- Affirm that it is alright to have the emotions they are feeling.
- Hear them out when they describe their feelings.
- Assure them that they had no role in causing the divorce.
Helping yourself helps your child
One of the best things you can do to calm your child’s fears is to stay on an even keel yourself. That means having guidance and support from qualified individuals who can be there for you during the divorce process.