How to Improve Your Sleep after Divorce Stress

After divorce stress can disrupt your sleep and endanger your overall health. Therefore it’s important to calm your mind and have a good quality sleep.

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale that studies how much stress affects health placed divorce in the second place — the first being taken by the “death of spouse” event. Also known as the Social Readjustment Rating Scale, this tool consists of 43 events deemed stressful enough to cause illness and mental health issues. But why is divorce so gravely stressful?

The Attachment Theory has some answers for this. Developed by a British psychiatrist John Bowlby and further enhanced by his colleague, Mary Ainsworth, this theory was firstly about the child-parent relationship. However, in the ’80s, Cindy Hazan and Philip Shaver expanded the theory to include adult romantic relationships as an attachment process, implying strong psychological and emotional bonds between partners.  

End of relationship and stress

Divorce is emotionally challenging and no matter how maturely the couple deals with this event, it can still be quite stressful. After the divorce, the partners separate from each other, change their lifestyle and habits, move to another place, and continue forward without sharing responsibilities with the other person. It also can affect other relationships in their lives, like with their children, family, friends, and colleagues.

The most stressful of all is grief. Defined as an agonizing loss that overwhelms a person, grief is the reaction to the divorce. Grief can be experienced by both partners, it doesn’t matter who left who. The American Institute of Stress sees grief as psychological trauma and a person needs to have a period of mourning to heal. During this time, a person is in distress and suffers from various conditions because of it, like difficulty sleeping.

Sleep problems after divorce

Losing sleep after a divorce is common, but that makes it far from okay. Sleep is necessary to store memory, boost immunity, repair damage inside the body, and regenerate cells. It’s one of the most important processes that happen in human life, so when it’s disrupted, a person suffers consequences.

Nights are the trickiest time of day after a stressful event, but losing a loved one makes it even harder. You look at that extra space in bed and feel alone, abandoned, and broken, trying to find answers to why is this happening to you and what have you done wrong. If finally, you do fall asleep, your dreams are troubling or you wake up every few minutes, reminded of your predicament.

Ways to improve sleep after divorce

However horrifying it may seem, there is a way out from this situation. It won’t be easy and it may take time, but taking control of your sleep habits is a path to being alright. Here is what you can do to improve sleep after divorce stress and overcome this difficult time.

Seek counseling

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is always a good idea, especially after something as hard as divorce. It helps you to recognize the problems and deal with them so they don’t negatively affect your life anymore. Look for therapists who are specialized to deal with sleep disorders and divorce, since they may have more experience on the matter.

However, remember that this won’t bring resolution overnight. You have to find a therapist that makes you comfortable to open up and talk about the deepest issues. Once you do, you need to make an effort to listen to their advice and be willing to go through uncomfortable stages to be comfortable in your life again.

Take natural sleep aids

A therapist can prescribe you medicines to help you fall asleep or treat depression, anxiety, and any other psychological effect of divorce. If you are still deciding whether to go to a therapist, you can try natural sleep aids. Herbal teas are a common go-to option since some herbs both have a calming and sleeping effect, like chamomile. Lavender and mint are also famous for their relaxing properties, so you can add them to your teapot as well.

Those who are not fans of tea can try drops or tablets made from valerian, hops, and other soothing herbs, or lavender pillow spray. Aromatherapy with scented candles and essential oils has been known to help fall asleep. You can use essential oils in a warm bath or a diffuser but stay away from refreshing scents, like citruses, since they can keep you awake.

People having trouble falling asleep also take melatonin supplements which is a hormone naturally released in the body that controls the sleep-wake cycle. In a man-made variant, you can take it as a pill every night before bed for a short time, although it’s best to consult with your physician first.    

Buy new bedding

Take all the bedding you shared with your partner, throw them away or donate them, and go buy yourself new ones! Getting completely new pillowcases and bed linen is part of your fresh start to go forward and leave the past behind. Even pillows and covers have to go if you are uncomfortable using them.

In case the bed is a problem, you should replace it as well. The key is to remove the space you shared with someone and create a personal space that is your own. That way, you won’t look at their side of a bed as a loss, but you will have the whole bed for yourself. 

Keep the room dark

Being alone in a dark room may seem like the last thing you need when in emotional distress, but it’s one of the best ways to fall asleep. You can have a cup of chamomile tea before bed and use a sleep sound machine when you turn off the lights to help. When there is no light, the body interprets it as a sign it’s time to sleep.

For this reason, having electronic devices that emit light in your bedroom is also not a good idea. If you do have to keep your phone inside the room, avoid putting it on the nightstand and cover your eyes with a sleeping mask. Moreover, no TV, smartphone, or any other screen at least two hours before bed will minimize your exposure to blue light that can interfere with the sleep-wake cycle. 

Have a bedroom makeover

Since divorce is a life-changing event, you should go with the flow and change your environment. If moving to a new home is not an option, go for the easier one — a makeover. To get yourself going, start with something small like redecorating your bedroom so you don’t tire yourself and give up quickly. Throw out old furniture or have it redone, put new paint on the walls, add some wallpapers, hang new curtains, and spread a new carpet.

What once was a couple’s territory, now is only yours and you should let your creativity and personal desires define your bedroom décor. While at it, declutter memorabilia on your relationship, like a wedding album, photos, gifts, and other things you share with your partner.    

Practice meditation and breathing techniques

Meditating is commonly used to de-stress and focus on the present. It relaxes the body and mind, helping you calm down and fall asleep. According to a 2015 study, meditation and practicing mindfulness can improve sleep quality by evoking a relaxation response. An important part of meditation is proper breathing, something you can try when you have difficulty falling asleep.

A breathing technique known as 4-7-8 is often recommended by therapists. It involves breathing in through your nose until you count to 4, holding your breath until 7, and breathing out slowly while counting to 8. Repeat this a few times and count as quickly as necessary to comfortably breathe during this exercise. Soon enough you will start feeling sleepy.   

Stay away from caffeine or alcohol before bed

Caffeine is a substance found in coffee and some types of tea that is excellent to stay awake. That said, you shouldn’t drink any of these beverages before bed, except for caffeine-free teas. Unfortunately, these are not only drinks that contain caffeine since energy and some fizzy juices are full of it.

Introducing Kids to Their New Second Home After Divorce

New Second Home After Divorce

One of the main aspects of divorce that affects children is the fact that their parents are now going to live at different addresses and that their current home isn’t their only home any more. For them to fully accept their second home, both parents have to make an effort and make the transition smoother. Here are some ways to introduce your kids to their new second home without making it stressful for them.

Talk to Them

Children are more sensitive than adults and, when something as big as a divorce happens, you can expect them to have a lot of questions. However, it won’t always be easy for them to ask you those questions directly. They might be confused by everything going on, or they might be worried about upsetting you with what they need to know, so it’s possible that they’ll simply stay quiet if you don’t initiate the conversation. In any case, both you and your spouse should find time each day to talk to them, address their emotions and explain all that you can about the divorce and how you expect things to be in the future. This, of course, includes the new living arrangements. When you walk children through each step of the move, and especially if you include them in the decision-making, they’ll find the process less intimidating and consequently less stressful. For instance, if your children are old enough, you could ask for their input about where they’d like to live or at least how they want their room to be furnished. This allows you to bond with them and show them that their parents still adore them as much as they always have. Plus, knowing that they can turn to either of you for any problem or question they have will bring them some relief and reassurance, but it could also diminish their resistance to the imminent change.

Put Them First

Although parents love their children, want what’s best for them and generally put their children’s needs above their own, it’s sometimes extremely difficult to stay level-headed in certain situations, divorce being one of them. This is something you have to be very conscious about, and remember to avoid saying anything bad or to show any resentment or anger aimed at your spouse in front of them. Another crucial matter is that the new home should be adjusted to your children’s needs. This means that they have their own room, that the home itself and the neighborhood it’s in are safe and appealing and that the place has everything your child needs to feel comfortable. These home standards are also something that the courts tend to ask the parties in the divorce to abide to, which may vary from state to state. For instance, courts in Texas usually give parents joint management conservatorship, meaning that both parents have an equal say in the children’s upbringing, which means both homes are of equal significance for child rearing. However, their courts also have certain requirements about the new home, with regards to children’s safety and comfort. That’s why Texans usually don’t stray too far from their previous communities, but instead seek first-rate apartments for rent in Brownsville, that fall into all the safety categories courts might find fundamental. With their children’s best interest in mind, these parents opt for apartments with top amenities, where dogs and cats are allowed, as children feel more pleasant with their pet around.

Adjust the Place to Them

Last, but not least, always bear in mind that this is supposed to be your children’s home and that it should cater to their needs, but also their emotions and character. Let them pick the furniture and any decorations for their room. Perhaps you can even make the place more familiar for them by filling it with some of their favorite belongings. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should take all of those belongings from what they call home right now, as that might upset your children. Instead, make a list of some of their most treasured items and purchase the exact same ones to bring into the new home. Another option is to pack such objects when your children are switching between homes. This could provide your children with some comfort and ease some of their potential anxiety about the new home and the divorce itself. A home should be a joyous place for them, which can only be possible if the place is adapted to their preferences.

Keep It Tidy

A cluttered space can make you edgy, break your focus and decrease your productivity. This is why, if you want to function well in any space, you have to keep it tidy and get rid of any excess objects. As an adult, this is something you deal with daily, but when you have children, it’s vital that you take into account their well-being and put it first. Namely, children are also affected by clutter. It can make it difficult for them to process their thoughts and emotions, but it might also leave them frustrated, if they aren’t able to do their work or play in a manner they are used to. This can also prevent them from dealing with the divorce and having to live between two homes. In addition, when you’re trying to get them to like their new living space, making it cozy and appealing can only help your case. Start with limiting the number of decorative elements, toys and other belongings you fill your new home with. If there are too many things in a space that may not be as big as your previous family home, it can become crowded and messy soon, which your children may find unappealing and they might resist you when you want them to spend their time there. Make it your mission to clean and declutter the new home regularly, so that you create a calming and loving environment they’ll want to live in and that they’ll always gladly come back to, as that’s how a home should feel like for them.

Divorces are emotionally consuming and traumatic for adults, let alone for children. This is something every parent going through a divorce has in mind. It’s no wonder then that your focus is precisely on how to make the inevitable change as easy as possible on your children. Your attitude towards your partner and the cooperation between you is something you need to work hard on, as only that way your children will feel welcome, secure and equally loved in both their homes.

When Parents Divorce: How to Keep Your Kids Out of It

parents divorce

Divorce is without question challenging. Throw children into the mix, and a new series of challenges arise. It’s no secret that the average divorce rate in America is 42.6%.

For both parties, it’s best when parents divorce if matters can be handled with dignity and respect. If you are experiencing the unchartered territory of divorcing with kids, continue reading for the best strategies.

Respect Respect Respect

Respect is key. You and your ex may be navigating a nasty divorce. Tensions may arise, and tempers may flare. Children represent the best parts of you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

It is essential to understand that children are the innocent bystanders of divorce. A once-happy household suddenly split into two parts can be a huge adjustment for any child. Experiencing the anguish that comes as a result of separated parents or divorced parents can be life-altering. 

Regardless of any bitter feelings you may have, respecting your former partner will set a positive example for your child or children. Kids need to feel a sense of unity, even if parents are no longer together.

If you are a single mom or single dad, remember that life will move forward. Adjustments may be uncomfortable at first, but things will improve. 

Your child will feel more secure about the transitioning process if both parents are united and show respect for each other. If you are in stepmom or stepfather, you can show support by speaking positively around your child.

Tips for Handling a Divorce

Honesty is the best policy. Be honest with your child or children. Most importantly, make it clear that divorce is only between adults. You may have to remind your child several times that they are not responsible for the divorce. 

Depending on the age of your child will depend on how you break the news. Small children may not be old enough to understand what is transpiring entirely. Your toddler might be clingier than usual. 

You may find your teenager transform into an angry monster right before your eyes. All of these behaviors are perfectly normal.

Talk with your ex-spouse find ways to maintain unity if possible. It may take time and lots of practice but ensuring that you can communicate effectively will make a difference. 

Understanding Your Child’s Perspective on Parents Divorce

Take a moment to put yourself in your child’s position. 

Your child undeniably loves you and your former spouse very much. Try to gain insight into what your child might be feeling. Harness these feelings. Use them as momentum to be the parent your child needs you to be. 

Divorce is a difficult time for everyone involved. Once the smoke clears and routines are established, you may find a sense of relief. Maintaining an understanding of what your child is going through will encourage you to persevere moving forward.

Learn how to communicate with your former partner. You both want what’s best for your child or children. Removing any tension and negative emotions will allow you both to work together proactively. 

Positivity and Empowerment

A positive mindset will not only serve you well but your child also. Positivity is contagious. Learning to laugh during difficult times will make life oh so sweet during times of harmony.

Try to keep things as amicable as possible with your ex. Agree to keep kids out of your divorce to avoid any hard feelings. 

Enjoy spending quality time with your child. It would be best if you didn’t burden your child with the emotional toll of a pending divorce. Avoid discussing your ex or asking overly personal questions that could make your child uncomfortable.

Learn the power of positive affirmations. Practicing daily positive affirmations can transform your mindset. 

Seek Help if You Need It

A neutral third party can offer guidance when you need it the most. 

If you recognize that you are having difficulty navigating through a painful divorce, professional guidance can help. You should never feel ashamed asking for help.

Every individual is unique, handling challenges differently. The most important thing to remember is to do what you must to protect your child or children.

A trusted third party can give you the freedom to vent and healthily deal with your emotions. This support system will help you avoid unintentionally placing your child in the middle. 

Divorcing With Kids

It is essential to be as transparent as possible with your kids during divorce. Remember to address sensitive topics in an age-appropriate manner that your child can understand.

After all, divorce not only impacts you but any children you may have. Share important details about where each parent will live, be clear about who your kids will live with primarily. 

Be clear about plans for school, extracurricular activities, and continuing friendships. Providing your child with as much stability as possible during this time is essential. 

Be a Positive Role Model

Let’s face it. No one plans on getting divorced. 

From the moment you and your spouse say “I do,” you likely never imagined ending up in such a predicament. 

You and your spouse must agree to disagree. You may not see eye to eye on everything, and that’s ok. However, putting on a positive front for your children is a must.

If at all possible, try to keep the screaming matches and arguing away from the children. Rising tensions can have negative consequences on your child later in life. 

You and your spouse must tell your child together about the impending divorce. Details of why the divorce is happening are not necessary. Your children do not need to know about any of the issues in your marriage. 

Resources Are Available

A family counselor can be a tremendous asset. Be sure to schedule appointments with and without your children. Counseling sessions will help your family to prepare for the journey ahead during the transitioning process.

If seeking a family counselor is unattainable, consider speaking with your minister. If you don’t belong to a church, reach out to someone you admire and look up to for advice.

In addition to professional help,  fantastic resources are available to help you cope. 2houses has a plethora of valuable information. Topics such as co-parenting, communication, health, and more. 

A suite of tools is available on 2houses for a low monthly cost to assist you in staying organized. 

Embrace the Power of Calm

Learn to embrace the power of calm. Divorce is a challenging time. You may face times of uncertainty and self-doubt.

You may experience feelings of hurt towards the other spouse.

These emotions are normal and expected. However, refrain from acting on your feelings. Threatening to keep your child from your partner due to anger and pain will surely backfire.

Your spouse may feel the need to retaliate or exhibit feelings of anger and hate. This vicious cycle will continue that eventually could lead to family ruin. Your child or children will be the one that ultimately suffers. 

Learn to embrace your emotions even during times of discord. Your divorce doesn’t have to be this life-shattering event that dictates your future. Consider divorce an opportunity to rediscover yourself and solely focus on your children. 

Develop a Kids First Parenting Plan

A kid’s first parenting plan can be a tremendous asset during a divorce. The purpose of a parenting plan is to ensure that the best interest of your child is met. The first step in creating a solid parenting plan is understanding your child’s best interest.

Your child should be the main focus of the parenting plan. You should take into consideration your child’s interests, friends, hobbies, and school. Each of these factors is crucial to your child’s mental and physical development. 

Communicate with the other spouse to create a workable schedule. It is essential to be realistic.

Discuss how much time each parent is available to spend quality time with their child. Be sure to consider your needs and what will flow best with your schedule. It is essential to consider which parent lives closest to your child’s school.

Be practical when determining which parent can take your child to and from school. Holidays are another sensitive topic to put in your kid’s first parenting plan. Compromise while considering what is best for your child or children.

Try to be as sensible and practical as possible when developing your kid’s first parenting plan. Always keep in mind that your child comes first. 

Maintain Boundaries 

To protect your children from divorce, boundaries are critical. 

If you have anything you wish to communicate with your ex-spouse, be clear and direct. Avoid relaying messages to the other parent through your child. This could be disastrous, causing your child to feel caught in the middle.

Be sure to give your child plenty of space. Divorce is a sensitive matter, and your child will likely have emotions to work through. Keep things as civil as possible between you and your spouse. 

Consistency is key. Make an effort to be as consistent as possible in your co-parenting efforts. Healthy boundaries with your child include, avoid sharing too much information. 

Turn Your Home Into a Safe Haven

Divorce is a difficult time for all members of a family. Your home should become a place of sanctuary for your child. You would never want your child to feel unwelcome due to tension with your spouse. 

Greet your child or children with enthusiasm and excitement when they come for a visit.

Show interest in school activities and be a shoulder to lean on. The idea is for the divorce transition to be as smooth as possible. Your child or children will appreciate your efforts. 

If your child feels safe and loved, regardless of your decision to separate, this will make a world of difference going forward. 

Don’t Make Your Kids Choose

Speak positively about your spouse, regardless of how you may feel. Adult problems are just that, adult problems.

Your children are likely not old enough to fully understand the divorce process. Allow your children the ability to stay neutral during this time and encourage them to do so. 

It is in your child’s best interest to have a healthy relationship with both parents. 

Provide Reassurance and Support

This transformative period will be one of difficulty but also a great opportunity for your family. 

As your children navigate their new normal, provide plenty of reassurance and support. You may think you know what your child is thinking and feeling but you may also be surprised.

Your children may say that they are simply ok, as the world changes around them. Be sure to set aside time to talk with them when you have the opportunity. Checking in with your children is very important. 

You want to reassure them that your impending divorce is not a direct reflection of anything that they have done wrong. Divorce is confusing for kids, the details can be sticky and overwhelming. This can be a lot for children, even teens, to process. 

Stay Involved. No matter what, reassure your child that you wish to be involved. 

Let 2houses Help You

When parents divorce, 2houses is proud to offer a suite of tools to allow a smooth co-parenting partnership. This sophisticated interface allows for optimized communication regarding your child.

Your child deserves the best from both parents, after their parent’s divorce. 

A 14-day trial is available to try 2houses services and improve your family life. Unique features such as messages, calendar, info-bank, journal, and more can help set you up for co-parenting success. Contact 2houses today for more information on subscription services and pricing. 

Embracing A Healthy Lifestyle After a Divorce

Woman who is running

Going through a divorce feels like the ultimate failure for many people. The mere idea that their Till death do us part turned into Till the road gets rocky can become beyond devastating. However, even when your pain becomes unbearable, you must find the strength to move on and think about your health. Physical, mental and emotional health tend to be affected the most, which is why we have prepared several tips to help you go through this hardship with more ease.

Work out regularly

Keeping your spirit up is vital for your mental and overall health. Blowing off steam by looking for an anger outlet will be highly beneficial for you. Once the grieving period ends, it’s highly likely you’ll feel angry. That’s why you should think about fitness activities that can help you break a sweat and not think about your current situation. Running, boxing and dancing are just some of the exercises that will boost your blood flow and adrenaline while allowing you to clear your head.

Find time to be alone

In time of need, friends and family will want to be around you to lessen the blow of divorce as much as possible. However, while that support always means a lot, you’ll need time for yourself. Those moments when you’re alone with a glass of wine and your favourite music on the radio will offer peace and indulging. A spa ritual with your favourite skincare products, a scented candle and a soaking bath will help you find balance and replenish your spirit. Whether it’s time to knit, paint, or work on some other hobby, as long as you have some time for yourself during the week, you’ll feel much better soon.

Maintain a balanced diet

A loss of appetite is common for people going through a divorce. Not eating enough or skipping healthy food will eventually weaken your immune system. The last thing you need is to get sick so having a balanced diet is vital for you. Having raw cashews on a side of breakfast will keep you energised throughout the day. Feel free to have them as a snack around midday when you feel peckish but not enough to have a full meal. Fill your diet with fruits and veggies, lean meat and dairy. You’ll need all the protein, calcium and minerals to keep a clear head and balanced weight.

Stay in touch with friends

Many people tend to isolate themselves from their friends when they are going through a painful period in their lives. You shouldn’t be one of those people. Your friends will always be there to listen and comfort you. Hearing their opinion will give you many more options to think about and pull you out of your misery. Furthermore, spending time with friends will take your mind off the divorce and make you joyful again. So, why not throw dinner at your home and have a nice little gathering? Go to the cinema, walk, shop and live your life as you usually would.

Don’t neglect your mental health

Have you ever talked to a therapist about your problems? Do you know anyone who’s been struggling with their thoughts and decided to ask for professional help? Even if you don’t, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek out help. Sometimes friends and family can’t offer us the needed comfort and guidance to help us go through a divorce with a positive mindset. That’s the time when you should talk to a therapist and relieve your pain through a conversation.

Regulate your sleeping patterns

Regular sleeping helps our bodies rest and recharge for the following day. That’s why you’ll need to make sure that your sleeping patterns are not disturbed. Once you notice that you’re having difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep throughout the night, consider changing your bedtime routine. Aside from that, enrich your diet with foods that contain high levels of magnesium, such as soy milk, beans, cereal, nuts, and spinach. Feel free to take melatonin supplements to keep your Circadian rhythm in check.

Go outside and breathe

Sometimes, all you need to do to feel at peace with yourself is go outside and breathe. Connect with nature again to feel destressed. Whether you decide to have a picnic in the park, walk by the beach, cycle next to the river or hike up the mountains, feeling close to nature and enjoying the fresh air will bring the necessary clarity and help you forget about your hardship. It will bring you a newfound respect for life and ever-needed calmness.

Divorcing your spouse will never be easy. No matter how difficult the last couple of months have been for you, you’ll always remember the beautiful times you’ve shared together and how much you used to love each other. That’s why divorce will always feel like a defeat. Nevertheless, you must find the strength to move forward and do everything in your power to stay strong and healthy. Tomorrow is a new day filled with opportunities and a potential love interest that will forever change you and make your life better than ever before.

A Broken Family: Helping Your Children Emotionally Cope with Separation and Divorce

Sad young girl staring out of a window

Divorcing or divorced parents, as well as a child of separated parents, will know that divorce and separation is an incredibly challenging and emotionally turbulent time.

While an adult has life experience, perspective, and emotional insight, a child may feel as if their entire world is crumbling when their parents are undergoing separation.

The breakup of a family is an overwhelming roller-coaster ride of emotions. For a child, these emotions can be confusing, terrifying, and just plain exhausting. They likely feel shocked, sad, anxious, and, in some cases, guilty.

Navigating separation as a parent is never an easy process.

Fortunately, there are a number of steps that you can take to make your child feel heard, appreciated, loved, and safe.

Remember that a little effort goes a long way when supporting the emotional journey of your child during a separation or divorce. 

We’re here to offer advice on how you can reduce the emotional toll and help your children move forward too.

Be Intentional About Your Communication

As applies to most uncomfortable or emotionally charged situations, you should remain mindful with regards to the ways you choose to express yourself. You also need to be very aware of what information you choose to relay and where and when you will do this.

This intentionality should be implemented from the very beginning. When you tell your child(ren) that you are separating, it’s ideal if both parents are present. Depending on the age of your child, you should strike a balance between honesty and restraint when explaining the reasons for your separation.

Furthermore, this applies to your communication throughout, and even after, the process of separation. Speak about difficult information and negotiate practicalities in a safe and private space and at an appropriate time. Maintain a gentle and supportive tone and, if they are willing, encourage them to engage equally in the dialogue.

Remind Them That You Still Love Them

While you know in your heart of hearts that you love your child unconditionally and eternally, they might lose sight of this fact in the midst of your separation or divorce. Make sure that you express your love through both words and actions.

Furthermore, this expression of emotional tenderness shows them that it is okay to be emotionally vulnerable, compassionate, and honest.

Investing energy into the expression of your love for your children will do wonders for their sense of security and self-confidence.

Reassure Them They Are Not to Blame

A child, particularly a younger child, may feel that a parent’s separation is their fault. They tend to think that divorce is a symptom of a lack of love for them. While you know this is not at all the case, they might need some reassurance.

Communicate, in a gentle manner, that your separation is an adult issue. There is absolutely nothing they could have done to negatively influence or prevent the outcome.

Although it is hard, this also cements the notion that your divorce is final. They can then begin to grieve and commence the slow yet necessary journey towards acceptance.

Encourage Your Child to Speak About Their Emotions

As adults with life experience, we have come to learn that speaking about our feelings is one of the most cathartic and therapeutic means of processing and moving beyond emotional issues and events.

If you have a younger child, they likely do not have the vocabulary nor the emotional faculties to grapple with the complex combination of sadness, anger, anxiety, and dread.

You are, however, able to support them as they learn how to speak about what they are experiencing.

Remember to lead by example, hence the first point about intentional communication, and let them know that emotional vulnerability is safe, courageous, and healthy.

Be As Honest As Reasonably Possible

Even if your child is relatively young, they are likely more perceptive than they might let on.

If tensions are brewing beneath the surface, they will almost certainly pick up on the fact that something is off.

Maintaining an honest channel of communication prevents the unfortunate possibility that they may internalize tensions and, without fair cause or reason, feel that they are to blame for this unhappiness.

Naturally, it’s not always appropriate to be completely transparent about everything that has contributed to your separation, nor the specifics of what your divorce will entail. Use your own judgement to differentiate what is helpful from what is hurtful when communicating with your child.

Do Not Bad-Mouth the Other Parent

This is immensely important.

As tempting as it may be in a moment of passionate anger, do not burden your children with the weight of your own frustration and hurt. It will inevitably pressure them into feeling that they must pick a side and remain exclusively loyal to that one parent.

A child, no matter how young or old, should never have to feel that their love and appreciation for a parent comes at the cost of a poor relationship with the other.

Respect the fact that, at the end of the day, your child has two parents. They have the autonomy to determine what form their relationship with both will take without excessive external influence.

Do Not Communicate with the Other Parent Through Your Child

This is one of the most common mistakes made by parents who are going through a divorce. If your separation has been a bitter and unempathetic one, speaking directly to your ex-partner might be the last thing you wish to do. It is, however, of paramount importance that you remain aware of the fact that you are the parent in the situation, and you need to take responsibility.

Speak directly to your child’s other parent instead of putting them in the highly uncomfortable position of the messenger. They are probably anxious enough as it is. Enforcing unfair responsibilities on them will only encroach upon their ability to emotionally process the events.

Encourage Gentle Transitions

Moving between parents in the initial stages of a separation can be one of the most anxiety-inducing experiences for a child. As much as we acknowledge that saying goodbye is challenging for you too, try to support moments of peaceful transition between homes.

Help them gather what they want to take ahead of time, so as to alleviate stress. Reassure them that you will be seeing them soon, and you are just a phone call away if they need to speak to you.

That said, give them the necessary space with their other parent while they are away. When they return home, resist the urge to bombard them with questions about your ex or their time there. They likely need a moment to settle in and rest.

Seek Professional Assistance

For some reason, many families seem to feel that seeking professional help is a sign of failure or weakness. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Family counsellors and therapists are the most effective means of working through the emotional turmoil —both individually and collectively.

If you’re finding that communication between yourself and your child is strained or non-existent, a therapist can be an excellent mediator of constructive conversation. In this safe and neutral space, you can gain valuable insight into your child’s emotional state and needs.

If you have the available resources, encourage your child to speak to a professional counsellor— preferably one that specializes in family troubles and divorce.

This process will consolidate, validate, and work through their emotions whilst equipping them with the necessary vocabulary to unpack and work through whatever they may be feeling.

Routines Could be Comforting

Naturally, there are several rather dramatic changes occurring in the life of both you and your children.

During this chaos that is an inevitable by-product of the process of separation or divorce, a bit of structure is comforting and oftentimes, absolutely necessary.

Try to establish some routines at home. However big or small, this stability is immensely comforting to a child who feels their world has been turned upside down.

Furthermore, if your child is moving between your house and the house of their other parent, try to structure this in a way that suits everyone as best as possible.

Knowing when they will be staying where helps them to mentally prepare. It also allows them to feel that their feelings and priorities are considered. 

Patience is Key

We feel complete empathy for the fact that when children are involved, separation or divorce is an emotionally grueling and utterly exhausting process.

There may be days where you feel nothing will ever be easy or joyful again. Trust us when we say that happier days are on the horizon. In time, you will move on, and even start dating again. Your children will acclimatize, and a new sense of normalcy will establish itself. It’s just how you handle the transition and equip them to handle the way forward that counts.

In the end, you will be so grateful that you were intentional about the ways that you chose to support your children’s emotional journey throughout the separation process—albeit a demanding endeavor.

This practice of patience should apply to your children as well as yourself. You deserve the space to validate your own frustration, sadness, and fear. Have faith that it only gets easier with time.