Ntlantla spoke to Busiswa, a 19 year old lady who experienced her parents’ divorce from the age of 13. Busiswa says coping with divorce is very difficult especially since they had to end up living with their mother without the father figure. A divorce hurts all the family members, including the children. Very young children do not understand what is happening, but they can feel the empty space of one of the parents not being around.
Children feeling insecure
A divorce is a life changing event for children. It turns their world upside down. They do not understand the divorce very well. All they know is that everything will be different. They have many questions: where do I go to school? Where will I live? Will I be able to see my friends? Will the other parent still be around? Did I contribute to the divorce? Will I live with my brothers and sisters in the future or will they live with the other parent? My daddy has a new girlfriend, but I do not like her. It is not difficult to take away most of their insecurities. Present a clear picture to your children of their future. Do it proper but quickly. You really help your children if you talk about their feelings and if you take away their insecurities.
1. Divorce is stressful for children. Divorce also can strain parent-child relationships, lead to lost contact with one parent, create economic hardships, and increase conflict between parents. For all these reasons, most children have a hard time during the divorce transition. How long the transition lasts depends on how calm or how chaotic the parents make it. Parents who do a good job managing the stress of divorce for children often see their children quickly adjust.
2. Divorce clearly increases the risk that children will suffer from psychological and behavioral problems. Troubled children are particularly likely to develop problems with anger, disobedience, and rule violations. School achievement also can suffer. Other children become sad for prolonged periods of time. They may become depressed, anxious, or become overly responsible kids who end up caring for their parents instead of getting cared for by them.
3. This is very important; the great majority of children whose parents divorce do not develop these kinds of serious behavioral or emotional problems. Most children from divorced families are resilient, especially when their parents do a reasonably good job managing the stress of divorce. These children — most children from divorced families — feel and function pretty much like kids whose parents are married. They are not “children of divorce.” They are what we want all children to be: just children.
4. This is also very important, many resilient children still report painful memories and ongoing worries about divorce, their relationships with their parents, and their parents’ relationship with each other. The Truth about Children and Divorce is; you can promote your children’s resilience and do much to ease their pain.
How to help children cope with divorce?
To help children cope with divorce, adults can reassure the children that the divorce isn’t their fault, be honest about the situation and get professional help. Some children need additional support through counselling, therapy or child-friendly support groups and activities.
• Children often feel they are to blame when their parents divorce, it’s important to let them know it isn’t their fault.
• Try to build up their self-esteem.
• Continue giving the children all the attention they need, and open up communication.
• Be as honest as possible about the divorce, including details about living arrangements.
• Make sure the children understand that the decision is final, and they shouldn’t expect the couple to get back together.
• When discussing certain aspects of the divorce, avoid the blame game so that the children shouldn’t blame one of the parent.
• Make arrangements for the children to spend time with each parent as evenly as possible, unless this is not safe or allowed by the court.
• Children often need to vent their frustrations and speak their thoughts aloud, so let them be heard.
• Open up communication and encourage them to speak their thoughts and feelings.
And for more information, please visit www.divorcelaws.co.za
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