Divorce. Helping the children cope
|Family break-up can be a very difficult and distressing time for a child. Parents can reduce the damage with good communication and by focussing on their child’s needs.
Parental separation creates a very real sense of loss and grief. Children may experience a range of feelings such as anger, sadness, guilt, confusion and anxiety, which may lead to behaviour problems.
However, most children will be no worse off in the long run after an unhappy family splits up and many will do better. How can you help your children to get through this difficult time?
10 tips to reduce the pain
1. Think first of your children’s needs and best interests and then of your own.
2. Explain what is happening before the separation. Answer questions truthfully.
3. Tell your children the break-up is not their fault. Young children, especially, often blame themselves.
4. Repeatedly let your children know that they are loved and will be looked after.
5. Encourage children to talk about their feelings and give them support. Reassure them that their painful feelings are natural and will lessen with time.
6. Get help with your own feelings. Ask your GP for assistance if you need it.
7. Don’t criticise the other parent or use a child as a spy or messenger.
8. Be courteous and respectful to your partner. Try to avoid bickering and fighting.
9. Maintain a familiar routine and keep in contact with the other parent’s family.
10. Tell the children that they can’t change your decision or bring you back together.
More info: www.parenting.sa.gov.au/pegs or www.relate.gov.au.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.Source: Autumn 2006 Edition | Page 4
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