How to manage your child when you separate

No one marries to divorce yet the reality on the ground tells us a different story. Divorces have been on the rise for many years, especially among young couples. For those who choose to remain in their marriages, some admit that the quality of their relationships is deteriorating by the day. Marriages are not the fairy tale people expected to have.

The problem, however arises when children are involved. Researches indicate that the biggest fear of children is divorce of parents followed by death. It may not be what you wanted but you can help your kids deal and recover from the trauma. So how should you handle this sensitive issue with your children should it happen to you?
1) Pray: this goes without saying that God remains the most important person in anyone’s life. His words are filled with hope and He is the only one who can lighten our burden especially when a sensitive case such as divorce occurs. Pray for His strength, wisdom, guidance and protection over yourself and family.

2) Discuss: “my parents have had issues for as long as i can remember. The separation did not come as a surprise, what did was seeing a woman in my dad’s apartment a week after. Mum took 3 years to move on. Why couldn’t he?” Words of 13 years old Rolland currently going through our sessions.
When parents decide to separate or divorce, they must have a candid discussion with their children to ensure they all read from the same script. Keeping silence and hoping things will be better leave room to imagination which include in most cases, that mum and dad will eventually reunite. Unless this is the case, your kids deserve to know the truth.

3) Take time before introducing another mum/dad in their lives, preferably one year and above.
This creates a sense of security and should you decide to take the relationship to another level, facilitates acceptance of the individual.

4) Fill the gap: this is a confusing time for any child. A child below the age of adolescence might blame himself for the separation and react based on that assumption. During adolescence teens try to act like adults and appoint themselves to bring back their parents together. They withdraw and we all know what an idle mind is capable of doing, so fill the gap with an uncle or an aunt he or she likes. Let that uncle or aunt fill the physical absence from the father or mother. Surround them with their cousins or people who share your values, as often as possible. This will normalize what seems like a road with no end.

5) Be friend with your ex: tough? True but try as much as possible to remain cordial with your ex. Fake it if you must. The children should not see you quarrel. Whatever happened between you and your ex is not the problem of your children. For them, you are still mum and dad.
6) Be present: not only in the house but in your kids lives. Most teenagers withdraw and keep themselves busy in their rooms or online. They tend to get involved in negative vices during this time. Your presence is necessary to help them grow emotionally well.

7) Take everyday as it comes: there will be high and low moments. Embrace them. Do not rush the process, let it sink. Whatever the case, the sun rises up in the morning.

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