Measuring a Divorce’s Impact on Children – How to Balance Your Emotional Health with that of Your Child
Divorce is an especially rough experience for children. They have to deal with the conflicting emotions of feeling stuck between two warring parents and their own unfulfilled emotional needs. Also, children have to cope with the feelings that they are losing their family and not knowing where to turn for answers. A marriage crisis doesn’t just have implications for the adults.
When you and your spouse first talked about having children, it’s doubtful that you thought you would ever have to try to balance the hard work of raising children with the struggle of working through relationship problems.. Even so, the reality of divorce is that you must find a way to be a consistently caring and supportive parent while coming to terms with the failure of your marriage.
Here are a few tips to help you find that balance and ensure your children can cope with the divorce:
- Absolutely communicate with and reassure your children that the divorce is NOT their fault. Splitting parents often make their children feel in some ways inadequate, as if their demands and emotional needs contributed to the rift.
- Spend as much time with your children outside of the home as they need. It is essential to give them space from the environment that reminds them of the marriage and its failure. But they need to have the security of knowing there is nothing wrong with them wanting to be at home, if it is not a unhealthy situation for them. They need time and space to work through the grieving process at their pace, not yours.
- Children and marriage present different challenges, so once your divorce process begins and you can devote your full attention to your children, be careful not to overcompensate. Don’t allow your guilt to cloud your judgment as a parent. Remain firm but compassionate.
- Have a visitation plan in place before the divorce is final that gives both you and your spouse equal time with the children.
- Regardless of the situation, and every situation is unique, a divorce’s impact on children is severe and impossible to measure. What you can expect is to be challenged to or even beyond your limits as a parent. Never be too proud to reach out to support groups and trained marriage and family professionals to seek help in easing the burden. Sometimes the best medicine for raising children during and after a painful divorce is having someone who is not close to the situation to communicate with and help you through the inevitable problems and issues.
- Finally, remember that your children will feel trapped at times. So remain adaptive to the many changes and challenges that a divorce will bring. Work with your children with love, tenderness and sensitivity to mend the rift the divorce has made.
Whether you are considering divorce, presently getting a divorce, or have already divorced, never forget the importance of balancing your child’s emotional health with that of your own. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Regardless of your situation, we would like to help. There may still be hope for your marriage. If it is still possible to save it, your children are worth all your efforts to do so. Please contact us about our marriage workshop.