Children & Divorce Trauma
Making the decision to get a divorce can become very complex when there are children involved. There are several key considerations that can help parents spare their children trauma related to the ending of a marriage. Divorce doesn’t have to devastate the children who are involved if both parents are willing to keep the interests of their children a priority.
Talking with children honestly about the decision to divorce is vital. Ideally, both parents need to explain to the children together their decision to divorce in simple language the children are able to understand. Both parents need to reassure the kids that the divorce is not their fault and though several things may be changing in the future, the children will always be loved by both parents. Details about the failure of the marriage should definitely not be shared with the kids.
It’s important for parents to maintain a respective and cordial relationship for the sake of the children. This means refraining from making rude comments about one another in front of the children. Parents should not send messages to one another through the children related to child support or custody issues. The kids should not feel they are in the middle of the issues parents need to work out.
There are several good books that have been written on the topic of divorce that are appropriate for different aged children. Titles of these books can be found online or a librarian can make recommendations. Reading these books with your kids can open up discussions about the feelings they may be experiencing related to the divorce. Parents may also consider speaking confidentially with the children’s teacher so they are aware of the changes in the home the child may be dealing with. Parents should try and maintain as much of a familiar routine at home as possible. This will give the children comfort during the difficult time of a divorce.
If the divorce is a result of serious issues such as alcoholism, abuse, or domestic violence, it may be beneficial for the children to become involved in counseling services so they can process all of the dynamics involved. These unfortunate situations may make it impossible to work with the other parent to maintain a cordial relationship in which the best interest of the children are the priority. These are the type of divorce situations that can lead to trauma for the children and the assistance of a family therapist or social worker is highly recommended.