Divorce is hard on everyone in a family, from the parents to the children. Many studies have shown that children struggle emotionally to process their parents’ divorce. As parents work to navigate their own feelings about a pending divorce, it’s just as important to help your children move forward. Sometimes, they will not be able to do this without help. Depending on the age of your children, they may not have the coping tools to process these new and complex feelings.
Additionally, divorce is also characterized by big changes within the home, which is a child’s safe space to grow, learn, and change. Children thrive when their home lives are stable, so when divorce means moving or seeing a parent infrequently, it can be difficult for a child to rebound. Regardless of how scary this may all sound, sometimes a divorce is necessary, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare your child for what’s to come. Children are often praised for their resiliency, and as parents, what we can do is give them the chance to grow through the challenge.
4 Tips to Get Your Kids Through Your Divorce
Many children are born into the world with two parents who live in the same home. When this model changes, it can be life-altering. As parents, we cannot tell them how to feel, but we can direct their anger or sadness into constructive or healthy directions.
Here are several tips to help you provide your kids with time and tools to process their feelings about your divorce:
- Be Direct: Don’t beat around the bush with your kids. You can find an age-appropriate way to have a conversation about your divorce with your kids that is basic yet informative. You don’t need to add a lot of details or flowery language. You can just keep it to the basics of what is happening and what they can expect going forward. Both parents should participate in this conversation to present a united front.
- Be Loving: One of the ways you can help your children is by reminding them that divorce is sad, but all the most important things in their life won’t be changing. Both of their parents still love them. They will have a place to live, friends they enjoy, and a community they love. The biggest thing you can do to give your kids some security is to remind them of all the love and safety around them.
- Be Respectful: You may be the innocent spouse. You may have done everything right in your estimation. Your spouse could totally be the villain. Regardless of these details, you need to be respectful of the role of the parent. You may not like your spouse or love them any longer, but your kids do. You can’t disparage mom or dad. You can’t share your grievances about your spouse with your children – ever. This is a hard and fast rule that cannot be broken.
- Be Available: Your kids need to know that you are available to speak to them when they need to discuss how they feel about the divorce. They may also need more attention than usual going through this difficult time. As they continue to process the information over time, new questions may come to mind, and they may want to discuss them. You can’t put them off. Make time to discuss the issues they’re dealing with, and if you’re especially busy, try carving out a standing appointment for your kids in your schedule for any follow-up conversations that need to happen.
Thoughtful Representation from Compassionate Divorce Attorneys
If you’re preparing to get a divorce, worrying about how your children will receive the information can add stress you don’t need. This isn’t an easy time for your family, but choosing the right solutions for your situation will help everyone involved make it through the divorce unscathed.
Call us today at (916) 571-1550 to schedule a consultation, or you can use our online contact form to request more information.