Children keep changing as they grow. One of the aspects of their personality that can change is their self-esteem. If the child encounters too much negativity, it will likely struggle with poor self-esteem. Parents who work on creating a positive mindset for their children are on the road to ensuring that the children grow in self-esteem.
This should be every parent’s goal.
However, what happens when the parents are going through a divorce? There is no way to protect the children from the fact that their life is irrevocably changing. They will naturally be nervous.
At this time, parents are undoubtedly be absorbed with their own emotional problems; Nevertheless, your children still need you. It is up to you to ensure that they develop as much positivity as possible to survive the divorce with healthy self-esteem intact.
Divorce and Children
Going through a divorce is hard enough for adults. If there are children involved, they will be very confused by the divorce. The good news is, children are resilient. As long as they know they are loved, they will come out ahead. A divorce will have a better long-term effect on them than a bad, destructive marriage. Simply remember not to badmouth the other parent, regardless of how tempting it may be. What happened between the two of you stays between the two of you.
Children notice when things aren’t right between their parents. When there is fighting and animosity – or plain indifference – it can be scary for them. Divorce is bound to affect the child’s self-confidence.
Both you and your ex must consciously and repeatedly reassure the children that they are loved and secure. Nothing about your feelings for them has changed. Forget any temptation you may have of blaming your ex. For the sake of the children, you and your ex must remain a unit. Answer their questions honestly and age-appropriately and reassure them that nothing about the divorce is their fault.
To keep your children’s self-esteem high, encourage them to try new things and make new friends. Joining a team or organization such as the Scouts will have a tremendously beneficial effect on your children as it broadens their world beyond their immediate household.
On the other hand, don’t permit them to manipulate you into giving them anything they want. Children are great manipulators. Make it clear that certain behavior will not be accepted. And stick to those rules. It would help considerably if you and your ex agree on those rules
Parents Have the Greatest Influence Over Their Children
Parents usually like to complain about the effect of peer influence. The truth is, it is the parents’ own words and actions that affect the children the most.
Here are a few tips to help your children keep and even boost their self-esteem following a divorce.
- Regardless of how friendly or bitter the divorce is, you are still a parental unit to the children. Do not involve them in your anger. Refrain from arguing in from of them, and remember they are not your messengers.
- You will be co-parenting until the children are adults – and probably beyond that. You need to put your feelings for each other aside and focus on them. They need to feel wanted and understood. Work at finding the best way to communicate with your ex – whether it be in person, over the phone, or by email. Just ensure that you communicate.
- Even children who are loved can feel low about a divorce. After all, their world is changing. Keep things as normal as you can by encouraging them to be with friends. The familiarity of old friends will help lift their mood. And it will reassure them that certain aspects of their lives remain unchanged.
Continue to Treat Your Children in a Normal Way
It is natural to be worried about what the divorce will do to the children. Accept that they will have difficult moments. However, keep your behavior toward them as normal as possible. Don’t try and boost their esteem by praising them for every little accomplishment.
If they bring home a mediocre report card (grades can frequently drop during a divorce), don’t get upset, but don’t exaggerate how brilliant they are. Calmly ask them about any problems they may be having with their classes. Give them a chance to answer. Instead of exaggerated praise, offer unconditional encouragement. Tell them you appreciate how hard they are trying. Offer to provide a tutor. When their grades are raised, that is the time for some earned praise.
Accept that your children will make mistakes. Don’t make a big deal of it. They will feel better about themselves if they know you accept and love them unconditionally.
The Divorce is Not the Children’s Fault
Children see themselves as the center of the universe. Everything revolves around them, including your divorce. Since they can’t fully understand, it is easy for them to blame themselves.
Repeatedly tell them that you love them, your ex loves them, and that the divorce has nothing to do with them. This is something they should hear periodically to keep their self-esteem from crumbling. If they still appear to carry guilt, offer them professional counseling, either individual or family therapy.
Encourage Your Children to Spend Time With Your Ex.
You and your ex may have different parenting styles, but it’s important that they spend time at and feel welcome in both homes. If you disagree with your ex’s parenting style, discuss it in private. Don’t argue and berate the ex. Simply explain to the children that while Dad may permit a certain bedtime, you do not.
Divorce and Daughters
Despite the highly vaunted state of equality between boys and girls these days, studies show that girls have a harder time with divorce. It is difficult enough these days being female. A divorce can be daunting to a girl’s self-confidence.
Studies have shown that girls’ self-esteem can suffer more than boys during and following a divorce. They may be more aware of the nuances of the divorce and its consequences. Parental conflict can make girls wary of relationships with the opposite sex. The support of both parents can greatly reduce the risk of daughters losing their self-confidence. This means parents should co-parent effectively and treat each other with respect. The daughter’s relationship with her father is especially crucial since that is her model for her future relationships and what type of treatment she can expect and accept. She is looking to her parents for guidance in making the right choices.
One of the most crucial aspects of daughters and divorce is that she should not feel the need to be “good” to be loved. Her self-esteem will benefit when she is allowed to stand up for herself instead of having to “please” a parent to gain acceptance. Be sure to raise a strong female instead of a “pleaser.”
Divorce involves more than a couple that is separating. It can also split up entire families. If you have children, it is your responsibility to help them through this difficult process
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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