When couples go through a divorce and children are involved, it’s likely that a parent’s attention is divided between the children’s well-being and the process itself. It can be hard to focus on them while sorting out one’s own emotions and legal responsibilities, but the tips below can make the process easier.
A divorce may come suddenly, and it’s likely that the children will have many questions. Parents should answer these questions as honestly as they can but in an age-appropriate way. Younger kids tend to do well with generalized statements, while teens and older kids can understand smaller details.
The most effective way to normalize a child’s divorce experience is to act as one normally would. It’s important for parents to monitor their emotions when talking about divorce, or during pickups and drop-offs at the other parent’s house.
Don’t Fight In Front of the Children
While it is possible to have an amicable divorce, it is not always possible. With that said, a person’s relationship with his or her ex-spouse doesn’t have to be acrimonious. Kids have a harder time adjusting when their parents fight all the time, and exes should work to keep things civil in front of the children.
Acknowledge the Children’s Feelings
It can be hard to persuade kids to discuss their feelings, but it’s important to do so. Kids should feel safe enough to express themselves around both parents, and when the lines of communication are kept open, kids have an outlet for their fears and frustrations.
Consistency and routine are important for children, particularly during a divorce. With this in mind, parents should work to cooperate with one another as far as visitation schedules and parenting plans are concerned. It pays to be flexible, and to do that, parents have to put their personal feelings aside.
Kids appreciate having a person to talk to about their feelings, and parents may consider finding a children’s therapist with a focus on divorce. It may be wise for parents to seek therapy as well—after all, it’s easier to care for the children’s needs when parents are in a good state of mind.