Fighting among your children is bound to happen in any circumstance, but when there’s a divorce at the center of the issue, that’s when it’s difficult to deal with. You love your children, but you can’t stand the pain they’re in.
As a parent, you know that much of the fighting has to do with your children’s different abilities in coping with the situation. Your younger child is having a harder time understanding, and the older child is tired of hearing about it. This leads to arguments and misunderstandings that make it hard to spend quality time with your children together.
How can you help children who fight with each other during divorce?
The first thing you can do is sit down your older child and stop them from lashing out at their sibling. The reality is that your older child likely doesn’t understand that the divorce is complicated in the eyes of the younger child. Younger children need more time to process changes and more support while changes occur. You should encourage your older child to be kind and respectful instead of lashing out when the sibling is upset or confused.
The next thing to do is to sit down with your younger child and discuss the divorce in an age-appropriate way. If your child constantly cries or throws tantrums, one good way to prevent this is by listening to what they have to say and guiding them toward healthy ways of relieving stress and anxiety. Young children need to be taught to express themselves, or they may have outbursts.
Once your younger child understands more clearly what’s happening and the older child understands that the younger sibling can’t process the changes in the same ways they do, there should be a massive reduction in outbursts and fights.
If this doesn’t work or only helps a little, then it’s probably time to invest in professional support. A child psychologist or family counselor can help you find healthy ways for your children to interact and express their emotions. A family psychologist, counselor or psychiatrist can also help guide you in ways to help your children when outbursts do occur, so they feel better understood and have a lower likelihood of struggling in the same way in the future.
Divorces are hard for everyone, but children often struggle most. Take the time to make sure your children feel safe and loved, and help them cope in any way you can.