Raising Healthy, Happy Kids Through a Divorce
Divorce is undoubtedly one of the most difficult challenges that a family can face. In the process of unraveling a relationship and starting new, children normally take the hardest fall when it comes to dealing with the aftermath. This can be a challenge that they are not prepared for. Learn how to equip your children with the tools to make it through the divorce and strengthen your family overall.
Teaching your children emotional intelligence through a divorce will ultimately benefit them with future challenges. Emotional Intelligence means the ability to perceive, control, and express your emotions in all types of situations. It means having empathy within your interpersonal relationships and not letting them get the best of you when faced with a challenge. With younger children, it is important to talk to them about emotions and to not let them try to figure it out on their own. Let them know it is okay to feel angry, but not okay to express that anger physically. With older children, it is beneficial to also talk to them but in a less formal way. If it is too difficult for them to express their emotions to a parent, make sure they have quality friends that they can talk to. Make sure that you are an emotionally intelligent role model throughout the divorce, particularly while dealing with your ex-spouse. Your children will be looking to you on how to react towards the changes going on, and model that behavior in future situations.
Divorces are often very much about the adults, whether it is intentional or not. In the beginning, when it comes to figuring out the logistics and fighting custody battles, the children can get lost in the legal shuffle. After the legal separation has taken place, make sure to spend one on one time with each child doing activities that they enjoy, and let them know that you support those hobbies. Although it may seem like a given that you support your child, they will appreciate hearing you express it.
After a family has separated, creating new rituals and routines is extremely important for the stability and happiness of your children. This means consistent meal times, family activities, supporting each other’s extracurricular hobbies, and taking time to relax on occasional vacations. These rituals and routines are not going to be created instantly, and may take a year to even be considered. However, don’t stop fighting for ways to help your family become closer, and your children will appreciate it in the end. Raising happy and healthy children does not mean always trying to cater to their happiness, but understanding that divorce is an emotional life event. Every moment is not going to be happy, but your children will feel loved by the amount of effort you put into trying to create normalcy after the fact.