More than a million couples marry each year in the United States and file for divorce in California online about 700 thousand families. And of course, every divorce is a lot of stress. Both for adults and for children. Moreover, it is known that children experience much more strongly - they do not have a complete picture of unhappiness, they have little social experience, more subconscious fears and plus developed imagination. So, how to help your child survive the divorce of parents correctly - we will talk about this in today's issue.
Most parents seek to protect the child from the passions that rage in the relationship between spouses. They think that they carefully hide everything, but everything is in vain - the child from the very beginning feels that something is wrong between mom and dad. And the baby’s subconscious mind reacts to stress instantly - there is aggressiveness, rudeness to others (often at school), nervous tics occur, academic performance is reduced. As a rule, teachers are the first to notice problems; parents have no time.
6 ways to help your child
1. Tell us honestly
If your beloved people are divorced, it is impossible to avoid the trauma of the child. But you can reduce the level of emotions, for which he will later say “thank you”. Honestly tell your child that between mom and dad everything is not the same as it was before. It is important, to be frank, but careful. Do not forget, the child is not an adult!
Tell us what happened and what you plan to do next. Admit your responsibility for the divorce: “Dad and I are both to blame. In something, they could not understand each other, help. Now it’s already impossible to combine what was and impossible to stop.” “Our relationship with dad/mom has come to a standstill. It will be better if we live separately. So it happened. It's not your fault".
2. Love the baby and tell him
Tell your child that even though you are getting a divorce, you still love him. You will also take care of him, protect him from hooligans, play interesting games, glue crafts together, draw, read books, pick him up from a kindergarten/school, go to a zoo, take rides, etc. And most importantly - you do not stop being a mom and dad.
3. Talk about your ex / her well or nothing
No matter how painfully your ex-husband or wife hurts you, have pity on the psyche of the child, do not speak badly about the second parent. The child will still love him no matter what. It is better to say, for example, like this: “Dad left. We will not be together anymore. But I will always be grateful to Dad for having you.”
If the child asks: “If dad/mom is good, then why did he/she do such bad things to us?”, Answer: “This is our dad / such mom” (we accept the person who he is) or “All people are different, sometimes they don’t agree with the characters, sometimes love passes.”
The child does not need to know the true reason for the divorce. When the child turns 14 years old, he will be able to form his own attitude to the divorce of his parents and will be grateful to you for finding the strength in yourself not to say bad things about a person close to him.
4. Do not punish the child
If the baby is aggressive towards you: “It's your fault that he left! If you weren’t ugly/fat / dressed beautifully / bought him a beer, he wouldn’t leave!”, Do not punish the child for this. Do not forget that the child’s thinking is too specific, he has little knowledge, and therefore the conclusions can be very different. In addition, the children are very emotional, and in a fit of emotions, you can say anything.
Help the child cope with emotions, say: “Stop. You're angry/worried / out of your mind right now. I understand it's hard for you. When you calm down, you and I will discuss everything.”
5. Discuss problems with a psychologist, not with a child
Many parents constantly ask children for advice, burden them with their problems, thereby exacerbating the situation. This is a big mistake as a child:
• not an adult,
• not your psychologist,
• he has his own life, which is also sometimes difficult to understand.
6. To the question: “Where is dad/mom now?”:
Of course, children will certainly ask such questions. It is important to correctly answer such questions so as not to harm the baby’s gentle psyche. Yes, I want to tell the child the whole truth: "Dad left you / betrayed/left us without funds and now lives with the bad aunt who stole him." Some come up with stories like: “Dad works as a scout, he went to another country”, etc.
Which of the two answers is best for the baby? It seems to be the second. If the first one introduces into the child a cognitive dissonance: “Dad - bad? How so? I love him», then there is nothing wrong with the content of the second one, only romance. The only negative is that when the child grows up and finds out the truth, he will not be able to forgive you a lie. How to answer correctly? It is enough to say: “Dad/mom lives in another place” (if he is alive).
Child psychologist Linda Martin, a candidate of psychological sciences, tells how to protect the psyche of a child from the consequences of a parents’ divorce:
Who is better to stay with a child?
This question torments all couples who are on the verge of a divorce. Until the age of 12, the baby is more attached to the mother, and therefore it is better for him to stay with her. Boys over 12 years old, and it is during this period that the transitional age begins, and the guys become less manageable, it is advisable to give it to their father. At this age, boys really need a solid male hand.
And if we take into account the psychological state of the parents, the child will be better off with the parent who is more friendly towards the other. Let us give an example: a woman after a divorce is extremely offended by her ex-husband, exhausted so that she cannot independently leave a deliberately losing state. And therefore, he discharges his discontent on the child: “You are all in the father. "Your dad never cleaned up after himself, and you are exactly the same!" We see her sharply negative attitude towards her father. What does the child hear: “I am bad, a loser, dirty, probably because of me they got divorced.” And so the child’s self-esteem is reduced.
How grandparents harm the psyche of a child
Usually, grandparents take the side of their offended children when divorcing, and when the grandchildren come to visit, they necessarily express their disapproval like: "Your dad is an alcoholic" or "Your mother is walking, she does not care about the child." And sometimes they give advice: "Do not talk to him," "Do not go to him, he will teach you bad things." This is where the whole struggle with negative reviews can go to waste. What to do?
Grandparents can also be negotiated. It will be good if each of the former spouse's talks with their parents. You can say something like “Grandchildren love you very much. You can communicate with them as your soul desires, but please do not interfere in our personal lives. We will figure it out ourselves.”