You’ve probably thought about how you’re going to talk to your kids about divorce prior to everything happening. Right now, you’re all living together in Roanoke, and you and your spouse are maintaining the status quo. Not long from now, though, you’ll be moving out.
Before that happens, you and your spouse want to talk to your kids about divorce and how it will affect them. That’s wonderful, and it’s exactly what all parents should do. However, you also need to keep in mind how you’ll keep the conversation going during and after the divorce.
Why is it important to continue talking about divorce after parents separate?
The separation and change in custody schedule is just the tip of the iceberg for children. Initially, yes, they will have to deal with a new schedule and new living conditions. Once they adjust, you may think that your job of helping them through the divorce is more or less over, but that’s not the reality.
You should continue to talk about the situation and the changes affecting your children. How? One good suggestion is to have weekly family meetings or a code that signals that your child needs to talk, like putting a piece of fruit on the coffee table or putting a sign on their room’s doorknob. It’s important that the lines of communication stay open, so you can continue to see how the divorce is affecting your children and what you can do to help.
For example, if you set up a custody schedule and your child adjusts to it over three or four weeks, you may find they want to talk to you about it. Maybe they’re unhappy about one day of the plan, because it means they miss an important school event or other extracurricular activity. You and your ex-spouse might need to talk about making new arrangements or making a change to allow your child to participate in that activity regardless of the schedule you have in place.
It’s a good idea for parents to have an open-door policy about the divorce. While it’s painful for you to lose a lover, your child may feel like they’re losing both their parents or that their entire world has shattered. It’s essential that you continue talking about how they’re doing and making sure that they are continuing to adjust in appropriate and healthy ways. If not, then you may need to look into additional help, like by hiring a children’s therapist.