By Margarita Nahapetyan
Divorce of parents is a crisis for the entire family. It becomes especially difficult when children are involved. Children deeply suffer when parents they love fall into conflict and break their relationship. And in many cases the pain, hurt and confusion of divorce leave deep scars in kids' hearts.
Many children secretly blame themselves, thinking that they might be the reason of a break-up. When parents fight a lot in front of their child, and the child is grown enough to understand what is going on, then it could lead to a change in the child's school life, he starts to misbehave at school, due to an increase in anxiety and worry. The education performance goes down, the mood changes drastically. Emotional stress also can lead to criminal activity, psychological problems, truancy and many other negative things.
Actually, children accept a divorce of the parents even worse, than they accept abuse or death of someone close to them. It is a huge pressure when it comes to choosing who they will stay with after divorce becomes final. In some cases the decision making is so hard, that it breaks kids down. And even if they are able to decide and choose between one of the parents, later when they go to visit the other parent, at the end it is very hard to part and say "good bye." At a later period of time, when children of divorce become teenagers and after, adults, they can have trouble with their own relationships and experience problems with self-esteem.
Inevitably, divorce for children and teenagers is an ongoing and painful process. Parents should show more affection and more love to poor little ones, and express an open communication, the more - the better. After divorce kids mostly stay with their mother. It means that they are not going to see their dad as a part of a family, communicate with him on a regular basis. Therefore, adults should be alert to signs of distress in their child or children. Young children may react to divorce by becoming more aggressive and unsocial or by locking inside themselves.
So what can really be done to ease the pain of suffering children?
First of all, all parents must understand and remember, that they may break up with their spouse, but parenting is something that never ends, it is forever. It is impossible to completely eliminate the depression and stress caused by parent separation, but there are few tips that might help to cope with the crisis:
It is always better to inform the children about the situation together. In this case a child will feel that he is being trusted, and he will avoid listening to 2 different versions of the same story.
It is very important to reassure a child that he is not the one to blame for a divorce. Psychologists say that most children older than four or five years of age think that they are somehow responsible for the conflict.
It is good to maintain consistency and routine children are used to. Whenever they understand that their daily schedule hasn't been changed and things they have been always doing are still same and familiar, they feel much more comfortable and safer.
It is not good to belittle each other in front of a child. Both of parents will still communicate with a child, so it will be very painful for him to be asked to take sides or listen to an angry parent's accusations. It can be devastating for a child to experience one parent's hatred of the other. So parents have to do their best and try to treat one another with respect for the sake of their own child.
Children need to be aware of all the details about their further daily activities. They must know what their life will be like after the divorce, when they will see their father, where they will spend their summers and vacations, etc.
Parents must be ready to accept some anger and disappointment from a child for some time. It is natural for a child to be sad and upset at his/her parents, and the change in the lifestyle in general. Sometimes it takes up to 2 years for children to get used to their new life.
Divorce is never an easy thing to do. Preparing a child for the realities of a divorce is going to be even harder for any parent. So they just need to remember that it is critical to give their child extra hugs, kisses and keep a physical contact to help them understand that they are still loved and remembered. Reassuring children that they will remain a priority in both parents' lives - and that the two of them will work together to help the child have the best life possible - is the most important thing that matters for a suffering child.