Family breakdowns can be the result of long periods of heartbreak, sadness and unhappiness, but it’s important to remember that the difficult decision to break up a family can be just the beginning of challenges that will be faced by everyone involved.
Whether a break up comes as the result of a long period of disagreement and arguing or more suddenly, it can be a very confusing and sad time for everyone in the family, not least of all the children, who are likely to have many questions and thoughts running through their heads as they try to process the fact their family is breaking up.
Making sure to handle the breakdown correctly and ensuring that everyone is being cared for and has their concerns addressed is the best way to make sure that a difficult situation goes as well as could be expected.
Try to make sense of it
No matter the reason for a divorce or break up, many couples will not want to talk about the cause of their relationship ending. It’s only natural that when something hurts, we don’t want to talk about what has caused that pain.
However, kids will have a million questions and concerns as they try to come to terms with a family breakdown, and they will be trying their best to make sense of what is a very difficult situation. The only way to help them with this is to talk to them. Allow them to ask any questions they might have so they can get it off their chest.
It may be hard, but let your kids know truthfully what is happening and why it’s happening, and they’ll appreciate your honesty, as well as having far more scope for understanding and starting to come to terms with everything that’s going on.
It’s all too easy to try to shut yourself away, be it through a sense of embarrassment at the break up or because you don’t want to trouble other people with your problems, but it’s vital to know that you can accept help.
Whether it is for you or your kids, having an outside party to talk to can make all the difference. Whether it’s a counsellor, a doctor or even just a friend or family member not directly involved, having someone there who can give a sympathetic ear will be priceless in the long run and help you feel just a little bit better.
Give them space
Linked to accepting help is knowing that you need to have the ability to give your kids the space they need in this situation. Their family is breaking up, and they’ll want to be able to talk about this, but not always internally.
If they want to talk to another trusted adult about the worries and concerns they have, it’s not that they don’t trust you, they’re just seeking out a friendly face that can help, and it’s important that you allow them to do this.
Look to the future
One of the main concerns your children will have when it comes to dealing with a divorce will be how it will affect their lives in the future, which is understandable.
As a parent, your job at this stage is to reassure them. Don’t try to sugarcoat things or make it seem better than it will be, but let them know that it can work out, talk to them about living arrangements and visits, and most importantly, listen to what they have to say.
It’s all too easy to look back on what went wrong, but for the family as a whole, it’s important to look to the future in these situations. Positivity and confidence that you can work things out will go a long way.