Anyone who’s spent a good deal of time with children knows that sometimes big changes can be very traumatic to them. Also, it probably doesn’t help that modern life has become even more complex within the past few decades. With booming technology and changing family dynamics, children’s lives have become more complicated than ever. Divorce, in particular, can be especially hard on children, who do not usually understand why their parents have chosen to spend time apart. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help ease major changes in your child’s life.
Encourage Them to Talk about Their Feelings
It sounds simple, but expressing interest in your child’s life and asking them questions about how they feel is the biggest part of keeping an open dialogue. When your child consults with you about small issues, they feel more comfortable bringing up their concerns about larger, more stressful issues. Give them a forum to speak about their emotions and maybe even set up a time each day when everyone talks about their day; a lot of families choose to do this at dinnertime. If for some reason you feel unqualified to help the child then you may want to explore the option of taking them to therapy. Separations and divorces can sometimes change the dynamic at home, which many kids find unsettling. Some may feel more comfortable discussing their issues with an adult who is not related to them.
Put Yourself in Their Position
How would you have felt about a big move or a major change in the family when you were their age? Give your children credit for surviving and thriving in a tumultuous world. Try to understand life from their perspective. If it’s a separation situation and they are going to be spending time at different homes—and sometimes with an entirely new group of different people—it will be a big adjustment and should be treated as such. A specialist from Rosengren Kohlmeyer Law Offices says the effects of divorce on kids can be wide-ranging, which is why it’s important for you to pay special attention to how your children process the separation.
Help Them to Channel Their Energy in Positive Ways
Routine can be a wonderful thing for children, especially during stressful times. Participation in sports can provide a great outlet, helping to normalize a child’s life. Providing regular exercise and a support system, sports can assist a child with focusing on something else while they’re going through big changes. Of course, joining the band or choir would also be a healthy choice for a child. For example, if a child happens to be good at soccer or the saxophone, he or she can take that skill with them wherever they go. Moving to a different town becomes a lot less scary when a child has a hobby that they can take with them.
As your children grow and evolve, they will learn that big changes are a necessary and sometimes slightly scary part of life. The more big changes they navigate successfully as children, the more likely it is that they will be able to handle change as adults.