7 tips for a healthy divorce for children

The usual thing is that in a separation, one or both members of the couple have a series of negative feelings and attitudes towards the other. However, so that this does not harm the children, it is important to make an effort to have a healthy divorce.

Last update: 25 January, 2022

Leading a healthy divorce is not an easy task, but it is decisive for the well-being of the children. It is obvious that if the separation occurs it is because there are insoluble conflicts. Even so, it is very important to make that last step as less traumatic as possible.

Beyond the differences that may exist in the couple, the truth is that the separation of the parents leaves a deep mark on the children. Despite this, the process is much easier for them to assimilate if a healthy divorce is achieved.

Whether pleasant or not, after a separation there are many issues that must be agreed, such as joint custody and the distribution of assets. Meanwhile, the children must face the idea that their world has changed forever.

The effects of divorce on children

A divorce represents a great change and a great loss for the children.. The home is the structure that gives them security and stability. When a breakup occurs, children feel like their world is falling apart.

After the divorce, they must also live the experience of being deprived of one of their parents. Likewise, the father with whom they live acquires a new meaning for them. All together it can be very confusing and, if they are young, they do not always find a way to express their concerns.

Age is a determining factor in these cases. The response to separation varies based on this:

  • 3 to 5 years: the feeling of guilt and the fear of being alone or being abandoned predominate.
  • From 6 to 12 years old: they recognize the presence of suffering, but they do not know how to deal with it. They create the illusion that the separation is not final.
  • Teenagers: Insecurity is generated in them about their own possibilities of forming a couple and fulfilling themselves in the emotional field. They experience guilt, feelings of loneliness and depression.
Issues of custody and distribution of assets often require lengthy negotiations. You have to be prepared to face this process.

Tips for a healthy divorce for children

For all that has been said, it is clear that having a healthy divorce is the best option for all family members. It is true that there can be pain, anger and disappointment. But nevertheless, letting go of those feelings only aggravates the situation. What to do then? The following tips can help.

1. Stay healthy and with the situation under control

To carry a healthy divorce, The first thing is to take care of your own well-being. It is very important to be at peace with yourself as much as possible. Psychotherapy can be an invaluable support in these cases.

It is key that parents keep everything related to the divorce under their control. Ideally, all the details are handled in private and without involving the children in issues in which they do not have to participate, such as the financial arrangement.

2. Communicate the news in the right way

There is no easy way to communicate news like this to your children. What can be done is cushion the situation with an intelligent and loving attitude. What is indicated is that both parents communicate itsetting aside their differences at the time.

It is important to make it clear to them that what happened has nothing to do with them. This must be insisted on; not only at the moment of breaking the news, but also afterwards. The couple must be ready to answer the questions honestly, which does not imply revealing underlying intimate conflicts.

3. Address the initial reaction

After the news there can be many reactions. The common thing in them will be the rejection of the situation and the pain. It is essential that parents validate these feelings in their children. This is to make them see that it is understandable and normal for them to feel this way.

It is necessary to insist that you love them very much and are sorry to cause this suffering, but that the decision has been thought out and analyzed, and it is the best option to avoid disappointment and problems. You have to let the child express himself.

4. Help the child manage his feelings

The children are going to have changes after the news and after the divorce itself. They may become more stubborn or sadder and more distant. The indicated thing is to make them see that the parents are there to talk about the subject, as many times as they need it.

Some children may also act as if nothing is happening. However, they may begin to have sleep disturbances, eating problems, and poor academic performance.

5. Preserve consistency and routine

One of the keys to a healthy divorce is to keep your routines intact. as much as possible. It is not convenient to introduce exceptional situations, such as allowing them to miss school or inventing a trip out of nowhere. The stable routine helps them regain peace of mind.

It is important to be attentive to the changes that occur in them and be willing to listen to them. However, the rules should not be altered in any way. Discipline must be maintained and the fact that they suffer is no reason to make special concessions to them.

6. Avoid fights in front of the children

This is another of the fundamental aspects to lead a healthy divorce. There are enough differences and conflicts to decide to separate. Even so, showing them crudely in front of children can do them a lot of harm.

When hostility and resentment prevail, it is more difficult for children to assimilate the situation. Similarly, they receive a bad example of how to handle a conflict. The obvious thing is that they then repeat it in their own lives.

7. Promote a healthy adaptation to the new situation

The main change experienced by children is not having one of their parents living with them and only seeing them on specific occasions. For the father who remains in front, it’s time to reorganize roles, chores and routine at homewithout falling into excesses.

The father who leaves also has to organize his life, so that he can spend quality time with his children. It will be difficult for them anyway, but if everything is done naturally and with a good disposition, they will adapt in a short time.

Exposing discussions openly in front of children is counterproductive. They will learn how to mishandle conflict by that example.

When is professional help necessary?

If a parent feels that their emotions or the situation itself are getting out of hand, they should not wait to seek professional advice. Psychotherapy does not work miracles, but it does helps organize feelings and ideas.

The same applies when children’s behavior is seen to undergo an abrupt and uncontrollable change. A professional will act as a third party who can help channel the situation in an appropriate way.

The separation of the parents yes or yes is going to leave a deep mark on the lives of the children. If done improperly, this can become a wound that will never heal. They will stop suffering from it, but then they will have many difficulties in having healthy affective relationships.

There is no way to make separation a good or pleasant experience for children. However, having a healthy divorce helps a lot so that this episode of pain can be overcome without affecting the normal development of the children.

You might be interested…