Question: How Can We Handle The Topic Of Our Divorce With Our Autistic Child?
I am writing this to seek answers on how to best help my child cope with our divorce. Although I have found a counselor who can empathize with my situation in dealing with autism, a little advice on how to go about answering difficult questions on a day to day basis would help greatly. I do not want my child to experience any emotional turbulence caused by the sudden change in schedules and the roles that both of us play hereon. I want to be aware of the common problems that kids face at this phase so I can be better prepared.
Empathize with their feelings
The act of divorce can cause us to go through a difficult mental transition, this being applicable to both adults and children. It is, however, important to personally come to terms with these emotions. In order to smoothly move on to the next chapter, we must deal with our internal disruptions first. Feelings like anger, fear and guilt will take over the minds of the young ones. Children often feel that they may be, in some way, responsible for the course leading to the divorce. Putting yourself in their shoes will help you to see the problems from their angle and will help in finding smooth solutions to them.
The words spoken by either parent will be received in great depth by children during this stage. In other words, from their point of view, the effect of everything that is happening around them will be magnified. This mainly includes verbal communication.
The goal here is to minimize any emotional difficulties the child may go through. To ensure this, it is important for either parent to be upfront and honest through the answers we give them. Having said this, the child does not need to know every minute detail that led the way to the divorce. Tone it down to make the child understand in his or her own way. Be sensitive to any changes in the way your child expresses in response to these answers. Also, never talk ill of the other parent to your child. Your child needs to feel safe in such situations and therefore must remain comfortable with both parents. The clarity about the changes in schedule must be carefully discussed by you, the parent.
Tend to His/Her Needs
It is important to know how to handle such situations with a child with special needs. Family counselors may be approached if you are unsure of the complexities that are involved. This can help you to take the best decision when there is a custody case. Prioritize your child and make sure that they do not undergo any emotional torment or are left mentally unattended.
Divorce will seem like a big obstacle in many aspects and dealing with it in a proper way is essential to give your child the life they deserve. Over time, things will become less turbulent and with constant emotional support from both parents, the child will develop natural confidence and self-esteem.