Divorce is hard for all family members. When, due to certain life circumstances, two people decide to disperse and go through life separately, the pain of loss does not leave both until heart wounds subside and heal.
And in this situation, what is left for the children to do? After all, for them, the whole world is crumbling, and it is difficult to understand why mom and dad now live apart. It is not always easy to tell a child about such a decision; it’s not still possible to understand what a small family member is going through. Parents make typical mistakes in explaining to children the reasons for separation and thereby aggravate the psychological situation in the family. In this article, you can read about how to help your child survive the divorce of parents safely and what psychologists think about this.
Do you live together for a child?
Parental divorce is a rather stressful event for every child. Therefore, if such a misfortune befell your family, it is vital for both parents to make the child’s experience less painful. The collapse in relationships usually is not planned, although this event cannot be called sudden. Just due to some circumstances, a man and a woman make a choice: to continue living together for the sake of a child or to divorce and cost their lives separately from each other.
The decision is always tricky, especially if there are children in the family. Some people think that one should not hurt the psyche of their children, and continue to live together, while remaining strangers to each other. However, it is naive to think that children do not see and do not understand the actual state of affairs in a family where mom and dad coexist on conventional square meters.
Joint life “for the sake of the child” carries a few pitfalls, which parents can not even guess. First of all, the children perfectly feel false things. By deceiving a child, parents teach their child how to lie.
Secondly, children copy not only the behavior of adults but also life situations. In a family where the father respects the mother, the children will also strive to repeat such relationships in the future in their family. Boys will learn to appreciate a girl or a woman from an early age. The girl, when she grows up, will subconsciously look for a man who looks like a father. What is an example to follow, what model of family relationships will parents serve their children if they live together just for the sake of children, not feeling for each other anything but annoyance, hatred or indifference?
Third, children are unlikely to appreciate such a sacrifice when they grow up. And parents can stay at the broken trough, and not having arranged their lives.
How to inform the child about the divorce
At what age can you tell the child about this decision? There is no suitable age in this case. Just at each of the stages of growing up, children are differently able to perceive such information and respond to it. If the child is still small, and he is not three years old, then it is useless to talk about this topic with him. It is best to wait until the child himself starts asking questions about the second parent. The best age is considered to be about three years old.
A child of preschool age should only know that they cannot live with their dad anymore. However, it is essential to note that despite this, he will also often see him as before. For example, when going to the grandmother, during the meetings of the child with the father, when he will come to visit the child, etc.
An adolescent child can already know more information. It is important not to criticize the other parent in the presence of the child, not to talk about their negative feelings towards the former spouse. An older child can guess what is happening before the conversation, so it’s better not to delay time. Otherwise, it can lead to a loss of confidence in the child.
Important! At whatever age the explanation with the children falls, in no case should one throw out all the negative, accumulated experiences due to divorce. Do not set up children against the second parent; the fact that you did not develop a life together should not affect the relationship between the second spouse and your child.
What are the experiences of children during a divorce?
Depending on the degree of maturity (i.e., their age), each child sees and specially perceives the divorce of parents. Small children under six months hardly notice the new, changed situations. They may forget a parent who is absent, literally within a few days, provided that they are well cared for and sufficient attention is given to other relatives. Children from six months to one and a half years old begin to feel changes in the mood of their parents. They can already experience changes in the family, explore the prolonged absence of one of the parents, and they can feel sad and worried. In a child who is already one and a half years old, a divorce can provoke fears and phobias, and sometimes hurt his mental development, and even on relationships with peers in the future.
How to help a child survive a divorce: the advice of psychologists
Adequate and civilized relations of both parents can ease the experience of a child. It is clear that they are not comfortable in the current situation, but the child must understand that he is not obliged to choose who is more helpful to him: mom or dad. He should feel that the parents’ attitude towards him did not change due to the divorce.
Psychologists advise several techniques that will help the child survive the parents’ divorce less painlessly.
First of all, you need to try to help the child in getting rid of guilt. It is essential to explain that dad broke up with mom, and not with a child. It is crucial to convey the fact that the father, as before, will love and visit his baby, that not everything that happens to adults will affect the child in any way. It is necessary to allow the child to experience all the feelings and emotions that he feels.
If the baby is neither supported nor rendered, he will withdraw into himself with his experiences. It seems that everything is in order with the child; there are no particular external manifestations in his behavior, and in general, everything is quite good. However, the most valuable experiences, fears, phobias, a storm of negative emotions arise inside the child. Therefore, it is essential for parents to help the child get rid of this stream of experiences. It is imperative for all relatives to take a neutral position in these relationships.
Do not speak negatively about any parent. It is important not to impose your opinion about what happened. It is essential to try to maintain a positive relationship with your former spouse. The friendly relations of parents will help the child to survive the changes in the family that are less painful.
It is not necessary to blackmail the former spouse with a child. In the soul of a baby these experiences will be captured for a long time, and maybe even for a lifetime. Sometimes it is useful to spend time together with the whole family. If the former spouses managed to maintain a reasonably peaceful relationship, it would be instrumental in spending time with the child in the circle of both parents. For example, you can visit a cinema, park, circus, etc. together. All of this will help the child in future life. It will help him in solving future conflict situations.
Consider the fundamental mistakes of parents during a divorce
Quarrels and conflicts in the presence of a child. Such behavior of adults puzzles a child. It is unrealistic for him to take the side of one of the parents, and it is not worth doing this.
The desire of former spouses to communicate through the child. “Tell your dad that he is ….”, “Tell your mom that….”. This behavior model characterizes adults from the best side. No matter how much you are offended by your spouse, you shouldn’t drag children into your “wars.”
Manipulation of the child when trying to return the relationship with the former spouse. If the collapse of relations is inevitable, you should not “bully” your spouse by not being able to communicate with the child. It is especially dangerous to do this in the presence of the child.
They are ignoring the feelings and experiences of the child. If the child is upset, worried, talk heart-to-heart with him, explain your feelings, describe the situation to him.