Children and Divorce: Tips for Parents
The beginning of the year is statistically a popular time to file for divorce. Divorce attorneys, mediators, and other experts across the world report that they see a significant spike in divorce filings each January. Divorce can be a painful, confusing, stressful process for everyone involved, but advocates say it is vital that parents focus on what is most important – their children. While it can be easy to get wrapped up in the constant chaos of divorce, parents must remember that the process is just as difficult, or perhaps even more difficult, for their children. Parents should keep the following few tips in mind while navigating the divorce process to ensure their children remain healthy, safe, and emotionally unharmed.
Talk to Your Children
While you may be consumed by divorce process yourself, it is important to set aside your emotions from time to time and have honest conversations with your children. While all children handle divorce differently, children of any age need to be given a space to express themselves and ask questions about the process. Your child may blame you or themselves for the divorce, or feel anger, sadness, loss, among a variety of other emotions. It is important that parents keep lines of communication open with their children during and after the divorce process. Children handle divorce differently at different ages, and their feelings on the topic may change over time, so it is important that the conversation be ongoing.
If possible, sit down with your ex or soon to be ex and decide how you are going to discuss divorce with your children. It will be much easier for both parents and the children involved if everyone is on the same page.
Find Outside Support
Try to find ways outside of the house to help you and your children cope with the separation and divorce process. Turn to friends, relatives, religious organizations, community centers, and divorce support groups for help. Your children can meet other children that have been through the divorce process, and you can meet other adults in a similar situation. While reassurance from parents is always beneficial, children are more able to adapt to the divorce process when they meet and get to know other children that have been through divorce.
Keep Conflict Away from Your Children
Often, parents choose to argue with or badmouth their ex in front of their children. You may think your children are unaware of what is going on, or you may simply think they are out of earshot, but as a general rule of thumb, avoid bringing conflict between you and your spouse around your children. Studies show that the biggest factor that impacts how children adjust to divorce is their exposure to conflict. Keep the conflict away from your children, and the adjustment process will be easier for everyone involved. When faced with conflict, kids are stuck in a difficult position, and commonly feel like they are expected to take sides or choose one parent over another.
Your Children Are Not Messengers
With texting, email, telephones, and all sorts of new technology available to co-parents, there is no excuse for using your children as messengers. Do not send messages with your children to share with your ex, and do not ask them to tell you how things are going in your ex’s life or at your ex’s house. Again, when put in these situations, children feel like they are expected to pick sides, or they may come to resent you if they feel like they are being asked to “spy” on their other parent. Whenever possible, communicate directly with your co-parent.
If you are considering a divorce, contact a skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys. The qualified attorneys at Abear Law are here to help. Our team has years of experience handling a wide variety of family law related cases, and is available to assist you today. Contact 630-904-3033 or visit us online to learn more about the services we provide, and to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.