When a family is going through separation, it certainly is a turbulent time for children in such families. As parents would be undergoing so much stress, the children cannot stay unaffected entirely. There is array of emotions children go through according to psychologists. Acute feeling of loss and directionless, frustration, dejection, heartaches are few to mention.
Every parent, would want to protect their children from this pain and anguish. If both the parents, I say parents; not couples or partners because, for children they are just that- Parents. Expecting children to understand the adult grief and challenges is only unfair.
I once had this lady, who was distraught due to her separation and forthcoming divorce. She vented her heart out to her 11-year-old son. As obvious as that, the kid was unable to cope with this adult grief and was getting into depression.
So, while you have taken a call to separate from your spouse, it is an adult call. This should affect the children as minimal as possible.
If both parents can work on below tips, surely, they can raise happy children.
6 tips to efficient parenting while separating
1. Avoiding face-offs!
A must! If your children can see you as a team, working and contributing to the family, they can grow into trusting individuals. Don’t get into arguments, hurtful comments in front of children.Parental alienation is the worst thing, you can do to your child.
2. Love them unconditionally!
Just like you always did. Don’t lay conditions on them, like I’ll love you better if you stop talking to your dad/mum. Children, need more love from you while separation and divorce are going on. Simply keep telling them that you love them and spend quality time with them.
3. Consistent behaviour is the key!
As parents, you need to be consistent with their upbringing. While you are concerned about their wellbeing, don’t let them feel less accountable to their studies and other activities like cleaning the house, sharing chores etc.
If you and your partner are already living in separate houses, get the children share and be accountable. You be their parents throughout.
4. Secured and supportive environment!
Children need to feel safe in their homes and with their parents. While your love will reinforce their feeling of security, being understanding and supportive of their needs and opinions are important too. The feeling of abandonment sets in children too quickly before you realise. So, be careful how you project yourselves as parents.
5. Light hearted conversations!
A child will have lot of things to say during this time, when they are not sure what’s happening and what should they expect. Engage them in light hearted conversations. Without burdening them with bouts of emotions and concern about future.
Let them talk to you casually and ask questions. Answer them with an air of confidence. Children can see through that. If, parents are sounding confident, children automatically feel secured and confident.
6. Family and friends!
Your extended family of friends and relatives play an equally significant role in dealing with children. Ensure they keep talking positively to children. No scaring, no dilemmas, no drama. Get your best friend or your dad talk to your children. Generally, uncles, aunts and grandparents are children’s confidents.
The above are ones that I have seen working in many families. By no means, these are the only or best ways to parenting. Every family can build their own do’s and don’ts during their transition phase, keeping in view the welfare of the family.