How to help children through divorce

No one, regardless of profession, is immune from the potential of divorce. Take the recent case of Jane Castor, a current Tampa mayoral candidate, whose former spouse recently filed for divorce.

Any adult ending a marriage will go through a lot emotionally, but it can be substantially harder on the children. Whether the children are toddlers or teenagers, divorce is difficult for everyone, and it is paramount for both parents to play an active role in their children’s emotional and mental health.

Promote honesty

Children should not feel as though they have to bottle up their emotions. Encourage your children to speak out about how they feel. Parents need to actually listen to their children and offer support when necessary.

Legitimize feelings

When kids come forward with their feelings, it is important for them to understand their emotions are valid. Instead of saying, “Don’t be sad,” parents should say, “I know you feel sad now.” Allow children to get everything out, so they can start looking toward the future optimistically.

Provide support

Throughout the divorce proceedings, parents should check in with the kids frequently to see if there is anything they need. Kids may not know what they want, but the parents can offer suggestions, such as going on a walk or making a phone call to the other parent.

Avoid speaking negatively of the other parent

While you may feel the urge to speak negatively about the other parent to your friends, it is important to keep those opinions in check when around the children. The kids need to be able to still respect both parents. In the event that you have older children who may be on social media, avoid posting anything about your ex online.

Build a support group

The only way you will be able to support your kids during this time is if you take care of yourself. Create a support group of friends you can talk to about your emotions. You may also want to think about seeing a therapist or counselor.

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