Divorce is not easy for parents or kids and everyone in the family feels a tremendous sense of uncertainty and this can affect the kids. It can also create tension between the parents which is equally as difficult for the kids. So what can you do about it? The first step is to ensure that your children are OK 100% before you worry too much about your emotions. As a father, this can be tricky, as you may feel that if you’ve moved out of the house, the kids will feel angry with you or have some type of resentment. Talking to them is so important. You will want to:
- Encourage honesty and show them that you can be honest too and let them know that you still love them.
- Help them put their feelings into words because this is going to be helpful for them.
- Legitimize their feelings – tell them that it is ok if they feel things and that they should be encouraged to talk about their emotions.
- Offer support because they will need it as it is a big adjustment.
- Keep yourself healthy and keep yourself focused.
- Keep the details in check and be sure that you know what needs to be done.
- Get help if you need it, mentally or physical help especially you are the one who is having to look after the kids.
It’s something that isn’t often spoken about but sometimes it is the father who is left looking after the children and mothers can actually walk out on their kids. So with this being said, it’s so important for father’s to know their rights. It’s important for them to know their rights as a father. Father’s rights should be used in situations when they need them, whether that’s relating to custody or living with their kids. That is what will ensure that the kids have the best life that they deserve.
How to help your child feel more normal
The change in routine and family life can vary dramatically. You may notice they’re not doing as well in school or perhaps they are not engaging in conversation or feel withdrawn from the family unit. This will vary in children of different ages but for teenagers, it may be particularly harder. They may feel more anger and a little less understanding of the situation, but again this depends on the situation.
- Young children often struggle to understand why they must go between two homes and not want to stay in two different bedrooms. They may worry that their parents may not love them anymore. It can spiral out of control.
- Primary school children may worry that the divorce is their fault and wonder why it has happened. They may have done something such as been naughty the week before and it just happened to coincide with the divorce and they may blame themselves. They may fear they misbehaved too often or be unable to grasp that it isn’t about them; because most likely most things will revolve around them at that tender age.
- Teenagers may become quite angry about a divorce and the changes it creates especially if they are in high school or if they are going through exams. It may be a good idea to discuss this as parents to see what is going to be best for kids as you don’t want it to ruin their chances of good grades. They may blame one parent for the dissolution of the marriage or they may blame equally but either way communication is paramount. This is a good time to start promoting independence however.
It’s always good to tell them that you are there for them or if that isn’t enough offer some support through a therapist. Individual therapy may help your child sort out their emotions and family therapy may also be recommended. It’s important that you focus on their mental health because you wouldn’t want them to be feeling inadequate or upset. Some schools and communities also offer support groups for kids and they can find help online but they shouldn’t be doing this alone. You should be helping them too and as a dad, you may sometimes struggle with what to say, but the truth is that keeping a calm head and practising mindfulness, you can get onto the right level with your kids and encourage them to live their life in a healthy way. Focusing on their hobbies and friends is good too and helping them see the benefits of the parents being divorced.