Divorce is almost half as common in the United States as marriage is. According to the CDC and the National Center for Health Statistics, the rate of divorce in 2014 was 3.2/1,000 in the total population, while the rate for marriage was 6.9/1,000. This statistic may not be surprising to many who have been through the process and recognize how difficult it can be to make a marriage work when there are problems with fidelity, abuse or even irreconcilable differences.
According to Psychology Today, divorce affects children differently depending on their age when the divorce occurs. Young children may deal with regressive responses such as clinging to a parent. Adolescents may exhibit aggressive responses in an effort to show more autonomy. Regardless of the age your children are when you divorce, there are things you can do to help them deal with the transition from living in one home to two.
1. Let them decorate
While one parent may stay in the family home, the new parent should have a new home to offer the child. One ideal way to help children deal with living in a new home is to allow them to decorate their own room. Let them choose colors, decorations and knickknacks that make them feel comfortable and at ease.
2. Include a picture of the other parent
Your marriage may not have ended amicably, but for your children’s sake, you will often have to put those feelings aside. Include a picture of the other parent in the kids’ rooms. This will allow them to feel closer to the parent they are missing when they are with you.
3. Stock up on supplies
If you want your children to truly feel at home when they come to your new house, they must have their own supplies and possessions in your home. Rather than having them pack their stuff from one house to another, give them their own pajamas, toiletries, toothbrushes and other necessities to keep at your home.
4. Shop for furniture
As your kids are allowed to decorate their own rooms, take them shopping to pick out their own furniture. Not only does this allow them to choose items they feel comfortable in, it also helps them associate their new home with something they are excited about.
While divorce is often difficult on the parents, the children may get lost in the shuffle and feel alienated and isolated from one or both parents when they are moved from home to home. If you are prepared to help your children adjust, they are less likely to have emotional trauma from the divorce.