Divorce is difficult for everyone involved, but perhaps the most affected are children. This can become a particular challenge if the child is introverted, as much of their dialogue is internal. Here are some tips for talking to your introverted child during a divorce and how you can help them through.
Understand the Introvert
An introverted child has a rich inner world. They can be very withdrawn, especially when processing information. They typically need to process on their own, in their mind. Understand this, and don’t force your child to talk things through right away. It may take them a few days to sort out their feelings and open up.
Help Them Think it through
An introverted child may prefer to think things over on their own, but may need help processing such a huge change. Ask thoughtful questions, or if they’re of reading age, perhaps write a letter. Since they will be able to read it and take their time to process what you’re saying, it gives them a chance to understand on their own terms. Introverts sometimes have difficulty being put on the spot and writing a letter may be the push they need to express things to you in return.
Introverts lose energy from being around people, even their beloved parents. Don’t take offense to their need for solitude – it’s not personal, it’s biological. An introverted child can only take so much talking and interaction before they need to be alone. When you sense your child getting tired or zoning out, it’s a good time to take a break. Let them have some alone time to recharge.
Support Them Emotionally
Help your child to understand that even though you’re divorcing, your love for the child will continue. Ensure that they know you will be there for them, protect them, and care for them as much as ever. Reinforce the positives of your relationship and let me know you are available.
Keep Them Out of Conflict
Your divorce may be a messy one, but your children don’t need to know that. If they do, you don’t know just how much they’ll be thinking about it on their own. Keep things civil when talking around the kids. Don’t bad-mouth your spouse or give too much information or expectations to kids.
Focus on the Positive
Divorce doesn’t have a lot of positive elements, but your child’s future can still be bright, even if the parents aren’t together. Focus on the things that remain good in your child’s life. Remind them that you both still love them and that they still have family and friends, and any other positive aspects of your living situation or future plans.
It can be hard to know what’s going on in your introverted child’s mind, especially during a difficult situation like a divorce. To make conversations easier, understand their needs as introverts, and respect that they need time and space to process. Jill L. Coil at Coil Law recommends you also think about getting professional support whether through child counseling, or legal representation for your kids. Click here for more information. Help introverted children to understand their inner thoughts and process this confusing time, as well as assure them of your love. Both of you will make it through just fine.
About the Author
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.