A divorce is an emotionally taxing experience no matter your age. It can be especially hard for children, who are often confused about why their parents are no longer living together. To help them come to terms with the changes, you need to be clear and transparent. Mental health services can be an invaluable addition to your plan, so consider the following strategies.
How to Help Your Children Process a Divorce
1. Explain the Details Clearly
It’s best to be straightforward with your children so nothing is lost in translation. Explain that your relationship with your spouse isn’t healthy and that it’s best for everyone if you live separate. You don’t have to go into the details of the conflict unless your children ask. Let them know it’s not their fault and reinforce that they’ll still see the other parent. Avoid talking badly about your spouse or placing blame, as this can lead to confusion for your kids.
2. Talk About Their Emotions
Your children may have trouble knowing how to react to the divorce. Explain that it’s okay to express what they’re feeling. They’re allowed to be angry or sad, and it’s good to share their feelings with you and the other parent. Bottling up emotions can lead to misbehavior and other issues. Never criticize them for how they feel and always be ready to listen.
3. See a Family Counselor
It can be helpful to bring a third party into the equation, so consider professional mental health services if your children are having a hard time opening up. Your children can have personal sessions, meetings with you, or even sessions with you and your ex-spouse. This is a time for them to receive unbiased feedback about the divorce. Kids may also be more willing to share their emotions or speak their minds when they have one-on-one time with an outside party.
Going through a divorce can be difficult for parents and children alike, but the compassionate team at Families Inc. Counseling Services is here to help. They’ve provided private mental health services to residents throughout Arkansas for 19 years. Accredited by the Joint Commission, they provide comprehensive outpatient care and can help with psychological testing, adult counseling, and general mental health services. Learn more about their organization online and connect on Facebook for regular news and mental health tips. Call (877) 595-8869 today to schedule a consultation at one of their 11 locations.