As an adult, you think that a divorce is hard. It’s emotional and frustrating. Imagine how your children must feel, if you’re having difficulty coping as an adult. Children who are going through the divorce of their parents sometimes have a difficult time adjusting. It can be hard to cope with living in a new home and getting used to a new schedule.
That’s why parents play an important role in helping their children adjust to a divorce and the changes that come with it. From discussing the divorce in an age-appropriate manner to helping their children feel they’re retaining some control, it’s possible for parents to step in and make the children feel more comfortable.
How can you give your children some control during tumultuous times in your relationship with your ex-spouse?
Control doesn’t have to be something major. It can be as simple as allowing your children to play a role in choosing a new apartment or picking out new outfits that they keep at your home. Any little thing that gives them some control over the divorce and custody arrangements can make a big difference in how well they adjust.
For example, if your tween is angry about the custody schedule, you might be able to help them cope by encouraging them to design a bedroom with furniture they love or giving them an opportunity to try new activities near the new home’s neighborhood each week. This will give them something to look forward to and a way to express themselves as they adjust.
Children are resilient, so most will adjust with time and support.
What should you do if your child starts acting out?
To start with, acting out is usually an emotional response to not being sure how to act in a given situation. You should try to be understanding. Speak with your child about their feelings and appropriate ways to express them.
If your child is not adjusting after a few weeks or months, it may be time to look into hiring a children’s therapist or trying alternatives that will boost their confidence and encourage them to express their needs more directly.
Every situation is going to be different, and children may react differently depending on their level of maturity and other factors. If you do have trouble helping your children adjust, family therapy or a children’s therapy session could both be good avenues for starting the healing process.