Helping your child cope with separation or divorce.
In an ideal world partners would have a child and stay together for the rest of their days happily but life is like a box of chocolates and you never know which one you are going to get! It will be a majorly difficult time for you and your partner when you decide to separate not least because of your child. It won’t be easy breaking the news to them and the weeks ahead will not be easy as you all adjust to your new found situation. However, there are a few things you and your partner can do to make the transition as calm as possible for your child during this time.
Let your child know how much you love them
When you tell your kid about the breakup they may think they have done something wrong or that they caused it by being bold or whatnot. You need to tell your child that there is nothing they could have done to change this outcome and that you and their mum/dad love them very much.
Don’t sugar-coat it
There is absolutely no point in telling your child that you and their dad may be ok in time and may get back together especially if there is absolutely no chance of reconciliation. It doesn’t mean your kid will get more toys or more sweets and you should avoid using these as a bribe to keep your child happy. It won’t help in the long run and your kid could play you and their mum/dad off against one another.
Let them be sad or let them vent their anger at the situation
Your child will be sad and they may well be angry too and that is perfectly acceptable. It will take time before your son or daughter feels normal again after such a huge disruption to their life, but you also need to be firm and not let your child walk all over you because they are upset.
Minimise disruption and make visiting easy
Try and keep some family rituals going, if their mum/dad brought them for a hot chocolate on a Sunday morning while you caught up on the housework for example, let this stand. If their mam/dad brings them to football, try to keep that as normal and do the things you do normally with your kid. When their mam/dad comes to collect them be friendly and avoid arguing in front of your child.
Be interested after their visits
If your child goes off for the weekend don’t ignore that they went away as they will want to tell you what they did. Avoid rolling your eyes and berating their dad/mam for letting them stay up late or eat too much as it will mean your kid will pick up on it and avoid chatting about their time with the other parent.
Ask their teacher to keep an eye on your child
For the first few weeks or even months your youngster may be out of sorts and it might be best to have a little word with their teacher to watch out for them.
Be realistic about the future and make it the best one for you all
When your child asks about the future be honest and say it will be bright even without their dad living with you both. You may have to swap Christmas Day’s yearly and it may mean two birthday celebrations but it will always mean that they are loved forever and always.
It's a tough time for everyone involved, but hopefully this advice might help make the situation a little more bearable.x
Written by Emma. Emma is a writer with Family Friendly HQ and also writes her own parenting musings over at www.emmasmadjotters.com