If you've finalized a divorce over the summer, to say the last few months have been a challenge (for both you and your children) would be an understatement. Now, your kids are going back to school for the first time since the divorce. They're probably still adjusting to the change, they're going to face questions from their friends, and they're still expected to keep their grades up amid all the stress. What can you do to help your kids through this difficult time?
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to be supportive and understanding as your children continue to adjust to this big change in their lives. Here are some tips on how to make the transition easier for them.
Encourage Them to Talk about Their Feelings
Your children may struggle at first to talk about what they're going through, but it's important that they have an outlet to express their feelings when they're ready. Encourage them to talk to you about how they're feeling and what they're worried about. If they're not ready to talk to you, suggest that they write down their thoughts in a journal or talk to a trusted friend or family member.
Cut Them Some Slack
Give your kids permission to have and express negative emotions right now. A traumatic family event has just happened, and they shouldn't feel pressured to go back to "business as usual." Be aware that they may need time to talk, time to adjust, and time to cope. If they bring home a couple of bad grades while figuring things out, give them grace about it and try to keep the stress levels low at home. You can always bring in extra help from a counselor if they just aren't coping well after some time has passed.
Create a Support System
In addition to talking to you, your children may also need a support system of friends and family members on whom they can rely. Help them identify people in their life who they can go to when they're feeling down or need someone to talk to. This could be a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, a close family friend, or even their teacher. Let them know they aren't going through this alone.
Establish a Healthy Routine
One way to help your kids feel more stable during this time is by establishing a routine. Make sure they have regular bedtimes and mealtimes, stick to the same weekday and weekend activities as much as possible, and try to keep things as predictable as possible. This will help them feel more in control of their lives despite what has happened.
Seek Help if Needed
If your child is struggling more than you think they should be, or you don't feel they're adjusting within a reasonable amount of time, don't hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist can provide both a listening ear and a sense of perspective, as well as equip your child with the tools they need to deal with what they're going through.
At Jerkins Family Law, we understand the stress a divorce can have on your whole family, which is why we work to help you get through the details of this transition with as little stress as possible. Call us today at (919) 719-2785 for an appointment, or contact us online.