Divorce is incredibly hard on children. Their world is falling apart and they don’t have any control. This can lead to all kinds of emotional and behavioral problems, especially if the issues aren’t dealt with promptly. But what does that mean for divorcing parents, and what can they do to help their kids during this difficult time?
Sometimes, no matter how many times you reassure a child of your love, or remind them that the divorce is not their fault, they just don’t seem to believe it. Divorce can be incredibly hard for children to work through, and most parents just can’t do it alone. Thankfully, there is a whole toolbox full of great tools out there to help you and your children navigate the process while you heal.
One of the greatest tools a parent has at their disposal is books. All children love stories, and this will allow you precious one-on-one time with your child, while you use books to help you explain this process to your child. There are lots of great books available today that focus on helping your children process the changes in their family and understand what they are feeling.
One example is a sweet story called Two Homes, in which a young child named Alex reassures kids that they will continue to be loved despite divorce or separation. Another one employs a well-loved Dr Seuss character, Horton Hatches the Egg, in which an egg’s mother flies off to Palm Springs to start a new life. Horton then assumes the responsibility of caring for the egg on his own, and is able to provide enough love and care even though he doesn’t have a partner to help him.
If finances are an issue, go down to your local library and take out a few books to read with your kids. Stories will help you talk to them about this difficult time in life, while also making the process less frightening for them. Remember, you are not alone. There are lots of resources available to you.
There are a number of activities parents can engage in with their children during a divorce to help them cope with the changes. One such activity is role playing. Acting out potential situations and talking about how one might act if caught in that scenario can really help children by providing positive planning.
Another is puppet play. Some parents have found that creating puppets and having the puppets talk on behalf of their child can help. Children may feel less pressure to discuss their feelings in it’s a puppet doing the talking for them. Therapist say that this is because having a ‘third party’ voice can provide the freedom to say things that they would otherwise be reluctant to share.
In addition to the multitude of activities that focus on getting kids in touch with their feelings, exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress and feel better. Exercising with your child will provide you both with a positive physical outlet while allowing you to spend time together. For example, taking walks together will allow you the benefits of fresh air and exercise, while also giving you time to be together and talk. If walking is not your thing, you could try basketball, baseball, or even ice skating. The options are endless.
Join us next time when we will be looking at how Games and Art can both be tools that can help your children cope with their feelings during a divorce. Also, if you have questions about the divorce process yourself, or are confused about what you can expect, feel free to come in and talk to our skilled and understanding family law attorneys. We have decades of experience representing Michigan families during their divorces, and we can help you too.