Your family is important to you, that goes without saying; so when the time comes to look at separation or even divorced from your partner, you will want to do this in the easiest manner. Children are resilient, but teenagers may struggle a little more. Many parents tend to assume that young children (from birth to 6) tend to adapt more easily to changes. This assumption stems from the inability of the toddler to express himself or herself clearly and verbally about what is bothering them. Also, the fact that early childhood memories are often inaccessible to us, as well as the still undeveloped level of self-awareness of an early childhood child. So for teenagers, when memories are developed, you need to assess the situation early on and look at the best ways to tackle the issue.
There are many reasons for divorce and teenagers will be aware of this from the age of 13 onwards (sometimes before). So here are some helpful tips:
- Find time to talk to the kids together. Unity reinforces these difficult moments and sends a message that the family will continue to be a supportive and primary basis in their lives. After the initial conversation, the matter can continue to be discussed with each child individually, especially if there is a large age gap between the children. With young children it will be necessary to repeat the message over and over again and dwell on small details depending on the questions that arise.
- Emphasize the description of life and routine after separation. It is important to elaborate, and invite the kids to ask questions about the situation. Talking about routine is reassuring and is a point of stability that still exists, despite the great upheaval that parental separation creates for them.
- A good and clear conversation for the first time can be a good basis for follow-up conversations in order to internalize the message and the expected change. Therefore, it is advisable to have the conversation in a relaxed time, after which it will be possible to continue to be together, come to ask questions, and express thoughts and feelings. A hug and physical contact is very important, as it can soothe and comfort (if this is what they want).
- Ask them how they feel. They may already have accepted it, but they may feel anger and resentment. They may feel that you’re pulling the family apart. Their stress is justified.
- Turning to a professional in the therapeutic field can be a particularly important support and guidance in the first period after divorce. Professional support can be a safe and neutral place to direct questions, anxieties and fears for both children and parents at this chaotic and turbulent stage in their lives.
You must understand that a divorce could affect your child’s moods, their schoolwork, their social lives and they may feel withdrawn. Be very cautious and be sure to communicate often with them. Life can and will return to a happy new normal.