Are you a divorcing dad? Most kids aren’t mature enough to understand why parents divorce. So they have lots of questions and often feel alone. Experts say parents who can learn to empathize with their children play a major role in helping them adjust. To help minimize the impact of divorce on children, the website MyDivorcePapers.com has compiled some tips on how to be an empathetic parent in a divorce:
Tip 1: Try to Focus on a Time When You Felt Completely Alone and Forgotten
MyDivorcePapers.com, which provides affordable solutions for divorcing couples, says its own internal research shows a high rate of divorcing parents were once children of divorce themselves. That’s a good starting point for understanding what your children will experience, the site notes, but it’s important not to hijack their story with your own. A rep explains:
“If you’ve experienced divorce and/or loneliness before, then tap in to that experience and try to see it through the eyes of your child self. At the same time, don’t take over the conversation with your story and your experience. Simply be there to listen and make any insight you can provide child-focused. With a little effort, you can connect with your child at a deeper level and help them deal with the situation. Remember, they will, at some point, feel alone, forgotten, and maybe even responsible for the divorce. You don’t want them shouldering that burden.”
Tip 2: Remain a Team When It Comes to Parenting
To do this, both parties have to put aside their marital relationship — that’s over — and re-calibrate their focus on the children.
“This means on matters of discipline, you should ultimately agree. You should also respect the same set of rules. While there will be some personal nuance to how you parent, you should still work together on the big things, so it’s not about ‘my way’ and ‘your way,’ but ‘our way.’ That can be challenging if you don’t get along, but that’s why you have to stay focused on the kids.”
Tip 3: Be a Good Listener.
The easiest way to empathize with children and reach out to them when they’re having a difficult time is to be a good listener.
“At the end of the day, it isn’t about what you can do to fix things. It’s about connecting with your children in such a way so that they can find their place in the world and work through issues they have on their own,” the rep explained. “They can’t do that if no one is listening. You’ll find that when you have this person coming of age before your eyes, it will be easier to see yourself in them and feel what they are feeling if you just make time to hear what they’re saying — or what they would say with a little encouragement.”