As we often say, divorce is an emotional process, and when it comes to children, it can be especially challenging to navigate all the emotions that come with it. As much as parents might try to minimize the tumultuous change that divorce can bring, it can be incredibly taxing for kids who oftentimes feel like divorce is something happening to them without any say in the matter.
We came upon a recent article from moms.com that offered calming techniques for parents trying to help their kids work through. The article promised seven different ones, and here are the three they suggested that spoke best to us.
Discuss the details
The author of the article, Megan Glosson, had a few different points related to talking things out, with the point about discussing the details being maybe the most pragmatic of them all. “You can explain to your child how their new living situation will work and tell them what they can expect from day to day,” she wrote. “Before they go to stay with your co-parent, let your child know how many days they will spend there and what you’ll be doing while your child is gone. All of these details will help them fill in the gaps in their mind.”
She also added, “You can ask your child what’s bothering them the most and you can then answer their questions so that everyone is on the same page.”
The uncertainty of how life’s going to look after divorce can be one of the biggest anxiety producers for everyone involved in the divorce. Helping your child envision what that will be like can be incredibly helpful to making everyone feel better. Of course, it may not be something you know right away, and it could be providing anxiety for you as well as your kids to not know. But finding those answers and being able to share them with your kids could be an additional motivator to working out a solution for that.
Glosson also notes that one of the best ways to help keep your children calm is to be calm yourself. “Kids will feel less worried if they see you staying as cool as a cucumber because they will feel like you have a good handle on things,” she wrote. “Similarly, they’re less likely to get upset with one or both parents if they see you co-parenting without conflict and navigating this new normal together.”
That said, it might not be easy to find calmness for yourself — which is where strategies like yoga or meditation can come in handy when you’re trying to do more than just put on a calm exterior despite how you feel on the inside.
Distract with something fun
Sometimes, both you and your kids need a diversion, as well as something that reminds you that you can laugh and experience joy again. Maybe it’s an amusement park, a movie, a camping trip, or something more simple — you know perhaps best of all what you and your kids like to do.
“Just like adults, kids can get stuck in their thoughts from time to time, and this creates a vicious cycle of emotional outbursts as the child continues to dwell on the same minor details,” Glosson asserted. “When this happens, kids simply need you to help them break the cycle of internal thoughts so they can calm down.”
As she noted, “an activity or game, a quick car ride somewhere, or even just some milk and cookies” can be a “quick distraction is just enough to get your kid out of their head and back to normal” when your kids get lost in thought.
At the end of the article, she also emphasized the importance of showing your kids love — an obvious yet perhaps overlooked strategy for helping kids through their emotions in divorce. If kids know that they’re loved and will continue to be loved, it can make a huge difference and make negotiating the change more bearable.
When it comes to divorce, as we’re fond of saying at the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, thinking about the children is the best thing possible. Even parents who are disagreeing about many other things in their divorce can agree that the children are important, and coming up with answers that benefit them can help parents get unstuck when their negotiations bog down. If you’re needing help with a divorce involving children, our experience and expertise absolutely lend to that.