There is really no way around it. Divorce is hard on children, in fact, it is likely harder on them than on the adults actually going through a divorce. That being said, there are things that parents can do to help support their children through this difficult time to minimize the stress and anxiety that they are going to experience. Beyond the traditional advice of “putting the kids first,” here are some practical tips to help your children through your divorce.
Telling your kids that you are getting a divorce is difficult. Some parents tend to “overshare” with the kids, which ends up being overwhelming and confusing. Others try to get away with just telling them the absolute minimum amount of information possible, which can make them feel like this isn’t an important event, even though it will essentially turn their world upside down. Finding the age appropriate way to talk to your kids is critical (and not easy). This applies not only in the initial “announcement” with them, but in the countless additional conversations that you’ll have with them in the coming months and years.
Yes, this one is far easier said than done, but it is very important. Fighting around the kids, especially if there is a lot of raised voices or even physical contact, can be devastating to a child. Please note that this doesn’t mean not to fight just when the kids are in the room, but when they are anywhere in the area where they can hear what is going on. Emotions are running high right now, but you must do everything possible to keep them in check for the sake of the children.
Unless there is some type of extreme condition with abuse involved, both parents should commit to encouraging a positive relationship with the other one. This is especially important when one parent has moved out of the house. Talking positively about maintaining a relationship, encouraging them to spend time with the other parent too, and other things can help ensure your children don’t feel like they need to take sides in the divorce. Kids have a natural right to a strong bond with both of their parents, don’t sacrifice that because of your marital issues.
Whether your children are showing signs of having problems with the situation or not, counseling can be very beneficial. It gives your child the opportunity to talk to a neutral party who is professionally trained to help them through this situation.
While your divorce is certainly going to be a huge part of their life for the immediate future, don’t let it be the only thing they think about. School is starting soon, take time to talk a lot about that and how much fun they will have (if your kids like school). Try to come up with some fun things you can do as summer finishes up. Play their favorite board or video game with them. Just because there is one negative thing going on in their life does not mean it is the only thing going on. Make sure they know that.
For your California family law issue, contact Attorney James Carroll today. Our clients know us because of our compassion, empathy, and most important of all, our experience.
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