Divorce can be a difficult concept for children to process. Children grow up seeing their parents every day, and when that changes, children have a hard time adjusting. However, parents can help their children get through a divorce by following these three tips.
Explain What’s Going to Change in Their Life
As soon as you and your spouse are completely sure that you want to get a divorce, you will both need to make time to talk to your children. Explain to them that the dynamics of their family will be changing. When you tell your child about the divorce, let them know that it is not their fault and that it won't change how much you love them. It’s important to reassure your child of this because they will often blame themselves for their parent’s divorce.
This information can be very difficult to process for children, and they will likely have several questions about how their life is going to change. Be prepared to answer these questions. Common questions your child might ask include:
Who will I live with?
Are we going to move?
Am I going to change schools?
When you answer your child’s questions, be honest. The more information your child knows about what is going on, the less uncertain and scared they will feel about the future.
Help Them Cope
When parents are always fighting, they sometimes forget to check in on how their child is doing, which results in the child feeling neglected. If you notice your child is quiet and withdrawn, talk to them. Ask how they are doing and encourage them to be honest about their feelings. When you listen to them, help them understand that their feelings are completely valid.
If you notice that your child doesn't want to talk to you, ask them if there is someone else they would feel more comfortable speaking with. They might be angry or upset with you right now, which is okay. They are entitled to their feelings, but it's still essential that have someone to confide in. They might want to talk to a grandparent, aunt/uncle, or a teacher.
Additionally, don't be afraid to seek help from a professional. Therapists can be incredibly useful for helping children deal with their emotions.
Never Fight in Front of Your Child
Children should never be exposed to conflict. Fighting with your spouse creates anxiety for your child, and can make them fear their other parent. This means the child will begin to align themselves with one parent over time, resulting in a damaged relationship with their other parent. Additionally, children exposed to a lot of conflicts are more likely to experience psychological problems and have more difficulty forming meaningful relationships with others in the future.
To reduce this harm, don't engage in arguments with your ex. Even if your spouse tries to instigate a fight, choose not to fight back. It's essential to remain as calm and civil as you can be with your partner. This will also show your child what is acceptable behavior.
If your child is exposed to conflict, don't try to hide it. A lot of times, parents will act like there is nothing wrong when a child walks in on them fighting, but this can make the situation tenser. When you deny the arguing happened, your child will feel more confused.
Let Our Experienced Family Law Attorney Protect Your Rights
At The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller, we understand how concerned parents are about their child’s well-being and future. Our lawyer will do everything with the utmost compassion and respect to ensure that you receive the most favorable outcome possible.