Around 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce–and this affects around half of America’s children. Obviously, helping children cope with divorce is important, but many parents aren’t sure how to help or where to even begin.
For many children and adolescents, adjusting is difficult but they get through it, but for some it’s much harder without extra attention and guidance. Ignoring your daughter in this time of need can lead to rebellious–even dangerous–behavior that can morph into much deeper issues later in life.
Tips for helping children cope with divorce
Don’t bad mouth your ex-partner.
Divorced parents frequently make this mistake. You may be frustrated, you may have a lot of anger towards your ex, but expressing that anger to your daughter in this time of change is not appropriate. It puts her in a difficult place of wanting to love and support her parents, but being pushed to choose a side.
Don’t take it personally when she wants to spend more time with friends or the other parent.
Another issue many divorced parents run into is getting their feelings hurt when their teen wants to spend more time with their friends or the other parent rather than them.
Think about it this way: her reality that she’s known for years has been torn apart and she’s trying to adjust–forcing her to spend time with you isn’t going to make that okay, but giving her space and time will help.
Don’t just expect her to act mature.
She’s not an adult, she’s in the midst of adolescence–which is, by the way, one of the most confusing and transformatory points of a human’s life. Things are already confusing without divorce, so when it comes to helping children cope with divorce, don’t just expect your daughter to take it without any anger or struggle.
Don’t use her as a “spy” or messenger.
You’re an adult, she’s not. She’s not there to pass on messages just because you find it uncomfortable to talk to your ex. Putting her in the middle just makes things complicated and likely causes her a good amount of discomfort and confusion. Don’t ask her if a new man or woman has been around the house–she’s not your spy, she’s your daughter.
Reassure them that you’re still both there for love and support.
It’s important for your daughter to understand that divorce doesn’t mean the end of family. It doesn’t mean you’ll stop being available to do family activities or have talks when they’re upset. Making sure she knows that you both still love her and will always be there to support her is critical.
Asheville Academy is here for your family
Asheville Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for girls, ages 10-14. Our students commonly struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD, learning differences, and other behavioral or emotional challenges. Helping children cope with divorce can be a difficult task to handle alone for some parents, which is why Asheville Academy is here to support you.
With the help of our licensed therapists, experienced teachers, caring staff, and expertly designed program, our students move closer to a healthier life. We use the best tactics and therapeutic methods in order to build a healthy self esteem for girls at Asheville Academy.
For more information about how we’re helping children cope with divorce at Asheville Academy, call 800-264-8709 today.