Going through a divorce can be a stressful time for every family. For families with children, it’s vital that you take the proper steps to protect the children as much as possible from the stress of the divorce. By properly preparing children for a divorce, you will help improve the chances that they will emerge on the other side unscathed. A divorce is something that no parent ever expects. Handling it with care will help your children remember that your love for them will never change, even if the family does.
Keep Them Informed
No matter the age of your children, it’s important to keep them informed throughout the entire divorce process. Children pick up on a lot more than we generally give them credit for, and the odds are that they already can notice a difference in the family. By keeping them updated, you show them that you respect them and their emotions. When you’re ready to tell your children about your divorce, there are a few key things that you should remember.
If at all possible you should try to have a conversation with the other party present. If this is not possible, keep things simple and don’t bad mouth the other parent in front of the child. Remind them that your decision has nothing to do with them, and that just because you will no longer be living together, they will still have their family. If their emotions aren’t clear after your announcement, be sure to ask them how they’re feeling.
Dealing With Kids’ Reactions
After your children are informed of your divorce it’s important to help them process their emotions. Younger children are likely to be concerned about where their toys will be kept, who will be putting them to bed, and how close they will be to their friends. Older children may be concerned about who will be picking them up from school and what their new room will be like. These are all valid concerns and should be addressed. Remember to reassure them that your love for them will always remain.
Help Your Children Cope
A divorce is a major life change for the whole family. There are many ways that you as a parent can help them cope with the divorce. Encourage them to speak honestly, even if that feeling is anger. Let them know that you understand how they feel and that it’s okay to feel this way. Offering support such as a special time with you or the other parent may be a good way to help them get through the divorce process.
If your children are showing signs of hostility, start acting out, or shutting themselves off then getting professional help from a counselor or therapist may help tremendously. It will give them an unbiased outlet to express their concerns and feelings as well as ways to learn healthy coping mechanisms.
Navigating through a divorce can be tricky. Dealing with a divorce with children adds another layer to an already difficult process. If you have any questions about child custody or are considering a divorce, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experienced family law attorneys. At Family Matters Law Group we are here to help make this process as easy and pain-free as possible, for you and your children.