When couples decide to separate or divorce, they face a grieving process which in most cases generates emotional pain and leads to physical and emotional discomfort.
There are some divorces which are accomplished with much more calmness, understanding and ease than others; it depends on the type of relationship maintained, the years of living together, as well as emotional and social resources.
What happens to children when a marriage breaks down?
however, the purpose of this article is to focus on the figure of children. Many times parents, because of their own pain, avoid paying attention to the suffering of their children, and we have to remember that they are helpless and vulnerable to the decisions of adults and, above all, the last thing that they want is to move away. .of their parents.
All children suffer from their parents’ divorce, some more than others. It depends on age, personality, relationship with parents, partner dynamics and the circumstances of the divorce. Typical reactions are usually: sadness, anger, worry, anxiety, sometimes they can manifest themselves verbally, other times they express it through changes in behavior.
Coping with a successful separation
This article aims to help parents of children between the ages of five and ten who have a healthy relationship with their parents, but who are dealing with their parents’ divorce. In such a way that they manage to grow and develop as receptive, stable and flexible adults, without the divorce having been an insurmountable obstacle in the construction of their personality and their social and emotional skills.
Children from 5 to 10 years old they tend to understand the concept of “divorce” more easily. They assume that they will not be able to see their father or mother so often, that they will move, sometimes from school, from the neighborhood, and that certain types of activities will be different in the future. However, the pain that a child experiences because of the absence of its parent when the relationship has been stable and healthy is still present; no matter how much we try to explain to them with many reasons, they are surprised and wish to have the coexistence of a united house.
1. Avoid making children feel guilty about the separation
It is important to mention that many children feel guilty about their parents’ separationIt doesn’t matter how much they are told that they have no responsibility in the decision. They tend to blame themselves for a long time and even change their behavior believing that this way they can avoid separation or reunite their parents.
The most important point from which these arise is to understand, accept and act knowing that the separation is centered on the relationship of the parents; they are the ones who decided not to continue their life together. But at no time should children, from a healthy relationship, stray from their parents. For them, both parents remain essential figures in their lives and, therefore, the changes should not affect the child’s perception of their parent after the divorce.
2. Avoid talking badly about the other parent
Unfortunately, parents find it very difficult to make this distinction, and consciously or unconsciously, due to the same pain or stress of separation, they interfere with the child’s perception of its parent. In extreme cases, this can lead to parental alienation syndrome (PAS).
Some stories mentioned by children in consultation usually refer to the speeches of their parents, which easily demonstrate the pain towards the spouse for the separation. However, this should not affect the child. The child is vulnerable and can absorb the negative feelings of the “disappointed parent”. This is why adults should focus their pain very well and not place their children in the middle of the “crossfire”. what sometimes happens to separations.
We then followed other tips that can help adults deal with divorce from a more assertive perspective and make the experience as bearable as possible for the children involved.
3. Love and trust in spreading the news of the divorce
Parents must focus their efforts on offering their love and trust, Fostering an atmosphere of tranquility and respect. They should allow smooth communication and let the child express his thoughts and feelings, including what does not please him.
It is important to give our unconditional support and, above all, to be sincere. We must answer all the child’s questions about the new changesBut it is not necessary to go into details regarding marital disputes.
As parents, we need to be confident in the decision, looking for support networks: family, friends, trusted co-workers and loved ones to deal with the situation. Children can never be parents’ “tear tissue”.
4. How to communicate separation
It is essential that both parents are present to be both parents when giving the news to the children. The role of parent is maintained and it is a very difficult time for the child, therefore the presence of both will give you more security.
We must explain in a concrete, simple and sincere way the decision that we have taken. A clear and age-appropriate message should be conveyed. Depending on how your child is, we need to think about the basic idea that needs to be clarified.
We always pay attention to body language, both ours and the little one, Because at the moment, children are listening carefully to what we are transmitting to them and not just with words. Therefore, we make sure to use looks, gestures and hugs that play in favor of the conversation.
5. Assist and report on all necessary matters
We need to provide the information the child needs to understand the changes that will take place from now on. It is very common for parents to be extremely stressed, as they have to resolve a number of economic, family and legal situations arising from the divorce itself, and they tend to downplay vital aspects for children.
These important problems for children can be: if he will stop seeing his friends, if he will change schools, if he will be able to play with the neighbors, if he will be able to stay with his pet, in short, worries of the children must also be taken care of, as most depend on the decisions of their parents. Therefore, before sharing the decision, we must try to meet this type of needs of the little ones.
6. Space, time and tenderness for the child to assimilate the news
We provide a space for the child to process the information. Children process information in different ways, depending on different variables. The most important thing is to remember that it takes time for them to assimilate them (the estimated timeframe can be two to six months in the event of parental divorce).
It is not a good idea for the child to understand the typical phrase “this is the best decision” because at this point the little one feels that his parents only thought of themselves as adultsSince he does not want to be left without his father or mother, we must inform him that he has every right to be upset, disappointed, sad or worried. We can even tell him that we regret taking him through this, and that we are giving him our full support right now.
Like any grieving process, the child must place the blame on someone, either on themselves or on the parents. It is part of the assimilation process. This is why it is important to listen to him when he wants to talk about the subject, as a means of expressing himself, and to pay attention to his mood swings and behaviors: food, sleep, topics of conversation, fatigue, socialization. , affectivity, tastes, others. .
Sometimes children, consciously or unconsciously, they seek to please their parents or to foster spaces that prevent separation. We need to be aware of these types of behaviors and in any case stress that this is not a good idea. We must also be aware that he does not want to be placed in a “position of strength”, because they sometimes believe that one of his parents needs him and that it is his duty to help them, as mentioned in In the beginning, no child should take on this role.
7. After separation: communication, space and affect
We try to maintain the same routine and reorganize those spaces that evoke the absence of the person, Such as a table space, an armchair in the TV room or personal items, so that they are used in another way.
We need to incorporate new activities that appeal to everyone: walks, visiting family, inviting friends over to the house; that benefit both the child and us as parents. We need to let the child know that we are happy to know that he is feeling happy, because often young children feel guilty for feeling happy.
You need to encourage spaces to feel close to your mom or dad. Always offer your support and express our desire to allow-benefit your mom or dad even though you see less now. Allow him to call you on the phone, write you messages, draw you pictures, visit you at work, etc. We also allow the other person to participate in the child’s school activities. The well-being of the child must take priority over any quarrels between parents.
8. Manage the absence of one of the parents
The reasons why adults divorce and the feelings that it brings, in most cases, are not valid enough for children to understand the absence of one parent. In other words, that is to say for them, this person is extremely important and loved in their life, above the mistakes they have made in their role as a couple..
Therefore, we must try to keep the details and details of the separation as far from the child as possible, as well as the negative feelings that one or both spouses have against the other: anger, rage. , disappointment, resentment. , etc. Of course, children should be avoided from engaging in behaviors such as insults, recriminations, revenge, reproach and victimization.
9. Seek out our psychological support and do not hold the child responsible.
Separation and divorce processes may require the support of family, friends and even professionalsBut remember that your child does not have to take on this task. As adults, we must seek our own help if we deem it necessary, it is undoubtedly a time which can be painful, and for this reason, we must ensure the quality of life of the child, accommodate it and help him cope with the new reality.