A divorce is likely to be a challenging and possibly traumatic experience for your child.
It is important to tune in and focus from your child's perspective what he or she is going through.
The experience from child's perspective
Naturally, your child's age and maturity will have a major impact on how he or she sees things.
Your child may feel:
-distress, anxiety, conflicting emotions, conflicting loyalties to the parents and/or stress
-a deep sense of loss, possibly loss of the parents' love, care, loss of the previously stable home
-confusion, anger, sadness, grief and/or even depression
-drawn into the issues between the parents and distracted from school work and other "normal" activities
-disregarded (abandoned and/or neglected) by one or both parents.
What you can do
First of all, you should ensure that you are truly available and accessible to your child.You should be there for your child if and when he or she has any questions or when he or she just want you to be there for him or her.
Being available and accessible is vitally important.This is because your child is likely to reach out to you when he or she feels like it.Even if you reach out to your child, your child may not be ready at that time.Thus, you must be ready if and when your child reaches out to you.
Secondly, do communicate with your child.Find a quiet place and time when the other parent is not around to sit down and have a short conversation.(Be ready in case it becomes a long conversation.)Keep the conversation going as long and as short as the child is comfortable with.
It is fine to address the child's many feelings on different occasions and there is no need to cover everything at one go.
Of course, you should address whatever your child wishes to talk about.
-assure your child that you love and care for him or her and you will still be there for him or her.
-reassure your child that the divorce was due to the parents being unable to get along and has nothing to do with your child.
-assure your child that you and your spouse will work together to ensure stability for him or her.
-address your child's questions and explain any changes to routine that have resulted from the divorce.
-look out for any signs of depression or other mental abnormalities.
-look out for any symptoms that may be connected to divorce.For example, unexplained pains and aches, reluctance to attendance school, etc.
-show even more care and concern for your child during this trying time.
When in doubt, seek the help of a mental health, medical and/or legal professional.
The above is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.
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