Divorce is a difficult topic not only for the former spouses, but also for their immediate family, especially children. We advise on what to do to best prepare children for the changes taking place around them and how to behave in front of children so that they do not feel abandoned.
What not to say in front of children?
It is extremely important not to discuss the trial itself in the company of children. Even if you have decided on a no-fault divorce, litigation is not an issue that should be on the minds of children. By dragging them into your problems, it is easy to create a situation where the child feels isolated and overwhelmed by their parents’ problems
This does not mean, however, that the topic should be completely ignored. Don’t pretend that no changes are taking place in your family, but do talk about it gently and thoughtfully. What kind of conversation? It all depends on the age of the child. Here are some tips on how to approach toddlers and older children.
Children up to 3 years of age
In the case of toddlers, it is important to remember their strong relationship with their parents, most often with the mother. If they feel anxious in the closest person, it can be reflected in their well-being, which often manifests itself in behaviors characteristic of earlier developmental periods. We are talking about the pacifier, problems with speech, difficulty using the potty
How to help a small child acclimate to the new situation? First of all, it is important to reassure them about the care of the other parent and possible visits. Children up to the age of three need a calm environment and feel uncomfortable with the unpredictability of events.
Children from 3 to 5 years of age
Children at this age are noted to have a fear of losing a parent, involving the belief that the other caregiver may also leave them. Previously, the world was a safe place for them, and with divorce and changes in the family situation, this belief changes.
Anxiety can manifest as insomnia, appetite problems, anger attacks, nail biting. These are just some of the symptoms, so it’s a good idea to be alert to changes in your child’s behavior.
How can you help your child in this difficult period? First of all, be close, support the child with words, but also hug him often. It is very important to keep promises, not to change plans and to be very punctual.
Children from 6 to 9 years old
Although children at this age are already much more independent, it is because of this independence that most of the problems with adaptation can arise. This is related to the fear of being judged negatively by their peers. Fear of rejection by the group is additionally combined with anxiety arising from the absence of the parent. Mere lateness causes worry that the caregiver will never come home again.
How to support a child at this age? Ensure regular contact with the other parent to cope with loneliness and anxiety. In addition, pay special attention to the child’s contacts with peers, so that you can quickly notice any changes in the child’s relationship with the environment. It’s also important to recognize your child’s needs and support their current activities and habits.
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