Separation and divorce is a stressful even for children. Sometimes in the storm of adult emotions, children’s needs fall through the cracks. Children may display their grief as sadness or anger, they may blame themselves, they may feel abandoned and insecure and their behavior may change drastically. The age of the child will contribute to their reaction, and how as the parent, you respond to them.
There are many ways that you can help your children adjust to a separation or divorce. Patience and reassurance are essential in this situation as children learn about their new situation. Maintaining a working, civil relationship with your ex-partner helps build a secure base for the child – if you have to argue, do it somewhere else. Consistency and routine between both residences helps minimize the disruption to the child’s life. Spending special one on one time can be valuable in reinforcing that the child is still very much loved by both parents. This doesn’t need to be expensive – a trip to the park or a milkshake is a great outing.
Often children of separated and divorced parents need someone neutral to talk to. Margaret McDonald is a trained clinical psychologist, who has spent the last 30 years working with children in many situations. Margaret can help you and your child with strategies to smooth the bumps from this difficult time. To make an appointment, please call the office on 3862 8833.