Getting Support During Your Divorce
Key Points
  • If you need help, ask for it, let family pick up the children from school so you have a little extra time for yourself, or ask if they would be willing to run to the grocery store for you.
  • Divorce is a very trying time, for you, and for your children. Do not underestimate the value of a good support system. Your children also need a support system that can help them outside of you and your ex-spouse. A child may not want to talk about issues he or she is having because they do not want to talk badly about you or your ex-spouse.
  • You, as a parent, should not be using your child as your emotional support; same for your child, he or she should not be the only emotional support. You can of course be your child’s support system but your child should be allowed to have someone else to talk about his or her emotions.

One of the most important assets when experiencing divorce and/or separation is support from friends or relatives. Whether you have or do not have support from friends and/or relatives, keep in mind that a local support group is always a nice addition and/or alternative.

It is important that your child does have access to emotional support. If your child is or starts to keep things bottled up inside, it is recommended that you seek counseling for him or her. The support from friends and relatives is often not enough. It is not always easy for a child to open up to friends and family due to feelings of embarrassment, confusion, and resentment, just to name a few.

Do not allow yourself to be your child's only source of emotional support. During the divorce and/or separation children tend to have very mixed feelings and are not as open with their parents as they typically would be or once were. You may discover that your child does not even want to participate in conversations with you regarding the divorce and/or separation. Do your best to get him or her to talk to someone else, a friend, relative, counselor, etc. Your goal in this situation is to get your child to release his or her emotions and discover what it is he or she is thinking. Children who are experiencing a family breakup rarely get all the answers and often only get half the story, so they have a tendency to jump to conclusions, which is exactly what you want to prevent from happening.

If you feel as though friends or relatives are being too intrusive in providing support, please keep in mind that they are only trying to help. Do your best to let them know that you appreciate their concern and consider trying to redirect their helpful energy in some other fashion, like, picking up the kids after school, making runs to the grocery store, etc. You may find that many friends much prefer helping with these types of tasks, rather than providing emotional support because it makes them feel more comfortable.

If your child says, "Everything is fine", this should be your first clue that he or she is keeping feelings to him or herself. Rarely is any child content with a separation or divorce. They always have questions and want definitive answers. If your child is not looking for answers now, he or she will eventually and the more time that passes, typically equates to more harm being done.

Useful Online Tools

Suggested Reading
Creating a Successful Parenting Plan Creating a Successful Parenting Plan
This extraordinary book and computer disk offers separating or divorcing parents a sure-fire way to create a workable, practical parenting plan/agreement that is in the best interest of their children.

Author: Jayne A. Major, Ph.D.

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