If your daughter is going through a divorce, it is a heartbreaking experience for both her and you, as you must see someone you love suffer and doubt their choice regarding their relationship, as well as a potential loss of their faith, self-esteem and your ability to cope. Being there for your daughter is an important part of parenthood. This article is suitable for a mother, father, or both, if they are looking to help their daughter survive this difficult time.
Step 1. Let her know that you are there for her
Make it clear that regardless of whether it is day or night, she has a place to go when she needs relief or an ear to speak if she needs to. If you live far from it, the telephone connection is very important.
Step 2. Consider ways you could tangibly help
Think of the kinds of things that would help her through this tough time. Do you need a personal space and time to organize your feelings, documents, household effects, etc., but the children do not leave you alone and they are also unhappy about all the changes? Can you offer to take the children out for a moment or at least take care of them for periods of time to give your daughter the rest she needs? Maybe they need a place to stay and you can offer them that kind of relief. Do you need a loan of money, of car, of articles to be able to recover or to leave the situation? Can you offer him a loan? All of these practical aids will make a big difference.
Step 3. Practice active listening
She will be unhappy, upset, sad, depressed, irritable, relieved, forgiving, and many other emotions at different times. You must be available to her with a compassionate ear and caring love that she can lean on at all times. Even if you are not in a position to help her physically, you can be there to do it emotionally.
Step 4. Leave the "I told you so"
Nobody needs to have the relationship they opted for rubbed in their face. You love who you love when you do for reasons that common sense can never justify. You make mistakes to learn from them. Your daughter will experience an internal dialogue that will be, for the most part, very negative; she will feel victimized, upset with herself and her husband, deeply sad, heartbroken, terrified, silly and unloved, etc. Neither of them are good feelings, but with loving support they will be gone very soon. The last thing you need is confirmation of your bad decisions with an "I told you so."
Step 5. Suggest other sources of support without feeling a reduction in yours
Being his father makes you a very important person in his life (two people, if you count the mother). Regardless, she will need wise advice, beyond what you can do for her, to help her form balanced conclusions about her future movements and needs. If you think a psychologist or counselor might be a suitable outlet for her, suggest it. Offer to make the arrangements and even pay for it (if you can) to help her get started. Also consider other helpful services, such as financial consultants, attorneys (for divorce proceedings or property division), a career consultant (if you plan to return to work), a priest or other faith restorer, agents of real estate, etc. Offer to help her with any arrangement and interaction where possible, especially if she seems insecure or has become progressively disorganized as a result of stress.
Step 6. Find out the names and details of local support groups for people experiencing divorce or single parents
Don't force the situation, but recommend anyone you think can help and just give them the contact details. Give him the necessary space to order his mind, in his own time. And don't use it as a substitute for your help, rather allow such groups to become supportive of your support.
Step 7. Feed her well
You may neglect eating and drinking properly. Check her diet and help her by preparing or ordering meals during the first week of her divorce. In addition, this is especially important when children are involved, especially if she suffers from depression and it is difficult, if not impossible, to take care of them as usual.
Step 8. Be a voice of positivity
Even though she's going through a terrible time, keep telling her that things will get better and that she has many wonderful opportunities ahead of her. Remind your beautiful children, your impressive talents, your kindness, your loving heart, etc. Just because this relationship didn't work out doesn't mean that your future relationships will end the same way. Remind her that she has learned lessons that will guide her well in the future. Be nice, always.
- If your daughter lives in a different state or city, offer to visit for a while to help her with the move, take care of the children, offer moral support, etc.
- Don't be surprised if your daughter harbors the belief that the marriage can be fixed, despite signs to the contrary. The stages of grief include denial and negotiation, as well as delusional expectations, before final acceptance. Don't stop supporting her.
- Help by keeping her out of spiteful relationships. Giving her your support and space for recovery is a sure way to help her avoid compromises out of spite. If you suspect that she is dating someone else too soon (after the breakup), have a heart-to-heart, but realistic conversation about where this new relationship can take her and how it will prevent her from a full and healthy recovery.