They were the couple of dreams for millions. People aspired to be as much in love as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Their happy-family outings had the paparazzi go berserk and their fans send out happy sighs! And then things went awry.
Now that the Jolie-Pitt divorce proceedings are going on and there are signs of a bitter custody battle, the industry, media and fans alike, wait with bated breath. Will they go for joint custody? Will they fight for solo custody of the kids? Who will get more time with the brood they raised so lovingly?
The buzz is that Angelina has requested full physical custody of the couple’s six children and has even asked the judge to give Brad only visitation rights. Amidst all this, a report says that Brad is finding joy in whatever time he gets to spend with his children, Maddox, Pax, Shiloh, Zahara, and twins Vivienne and Knox.
Separation is never easy, especially so if there are children involved. While I feel that having a set of divorced-but-happy parents is a better alternative as compared to together-but-depressed ones, however, children do get love-torn. Who do they side with? Do they side with a parent at all? What went wrong between their parents? Were they responsible for it? There are a million such questions floating around in their little minds.
So how do you help your child cope with divorce? Here are some pointers that may help you or someone you know going through a divorce:
- No love lost. For a child, a separation, no matter how amicable, means that his mommy and daddy aren’t going to be together. They may not have had a bitter fight in front of the child, however, most children in such a situation feel unloved. They just assume that it’s probably something that they did which led to the divorce. It’s important for the parents to sit down with the child, together and separately, to explain that he is NOT at fault. That a divorce doesn’t mean he is unloved.
- Don’t lie. Don’t make it look picture-perfect, especially since it’s not. Children are smarter than we give them credit for. If you’ve already started living separately, avoid saying things like ‘your daddy/mommy will be back in a few days’. This raises unrealistic expectations. Instead, tell them that no matter how far he/she is, the child is what matters the most to both of the parents.
- Keep communication channels open. Encourage the kids to communicate their feelings. They may feel deprived of their parents’ love for no fault of theirs. Help them open up. Talk to your child about expressing his disappointment without throwing a temper tantrum. If he doesn’t want to talk about his feelings to either of his parents, and you feel he is just bottling all his anger and resentment, it’s perhaps time to speak to a counselor.
Whatever the differences be with your partner, be sure never to talk about it in front of the kids. It doesn’t take long for a ‘normal’ discussion to escalate into a fight. Aim for a peaceful transition and say goodbye with a smile. Children latch on to the smallest of cues.
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