Divorce represents an intimidating hurdle for married couples but it can be an absolute shock to any children they share together. Every emotion that a spouse feels during divorce, a child that does not understand what is happening might feel twice as many and with three-times the impact. If you are going through a divorce, it is crucial that you keep your children’s emotions and happiness in perspective and do what you can to shield them from some of the less-desirable consequences of divorce.
Seven helpful bits of advice common among family law & therapy specialists include:
- Check on your children often: You cannot reasonably expect to have one conversation with your children about why you are divorcing and have them understand and accept all of it then and there. Tell them that they can come to you with questions or concerns whenever they arise. If a few days go by and they haven’t brought it up, they are probably hiding their feelings. Go check on them and deliver any new, pertinent information at the same time.
- Select what you share: There might be some reasons behind your divorce that are unsavory to share with your children, especially if they are quite young. Keep their age in mind and only tell them what they really need to know. You won’t be lying to them but they won’t have all the details, and that’s fine.
- Don’t smother them with affection: Some parents understandably want to crank up the affection they show their children once a divorce is announced, which usually means a spike in attention and the showering of gifts. This behavior can work against you and make your children think you are trying to buy their love or win them over in a fight between you and your spouse. Treat them as you normally would to reinforce that divorce doesn’t change your love for them.
- Keep it civil: No one really benefits from making an enemy, so don’t intentionally try to paint your spouse in a negative image when talking to your kids. Avoid putting blame on them, even if there are some particular reasons in your head as to why you filed for divorce.
- Take care of yourself: While you are taking care of your children, save some time and energy for yourself. If you aren't happy and healthy, you might struggle to ensure your children are. Set aside an evening a week at least to do what you like to do.
- Talk about future schedules: As soon as you start hammering out details regarding child custody and visitation, speak to your children again and mention what schedules might be looking like in the future. Don’t make any promises with incomplete information but it should let them know that there is some certainty and stability on the horizon.
- Consult with your ex-spouse: You and your ex-spouse might not want to share the same space together anymore but you both still are the parents of your children. Unless domestic violence or spousal abuse is one of the reasons for your divorce, you should turn to your spouse for help and advice when concerning your children’s best interests. After all, you will probably be a divorced parenting team for years to come.
Realistically, you will not be able to completely protect your children from the negative emotions and experiences that can come along with even the most amicable of divorces. What is important is that you and your ex-spouse both try your best to reassure and care for them, no matter what hardships come your way.
To make things a little easier on yourself, and therefore also on your kids, you should retain the services of our Irvine divorce attorney from Gill Law Group, PC. While you focus on yourself and your family, we can manage your divorce case and all of its intricate details. Call (949) 681-9952 or email our office for more information about our services and legal options that might benefit you.