Divorce can be hard for everyone involved, but it can be especially hard for children. Luckily, there are lots of ways to help your children through your divorce. The following tips are essential.
1. Keep Conflict Away From the Children
Always try to handle arguments and legal discussions when your children are not there. Research indicates that it isn’t divorce or staying married that affects children. Instead, children are more affected by conflict between their parents.
Whether a couple is staying together or getting a divorce, if they argue or fight in front of their children, it can have damaging consequences on the children. If possible, make a pact with your ex-partner to present a united front to your children and to keep them away from intense conversations.
Children can internalize that conflict, and that may make them think that the divorce is their fault.
2. Make a Plan to Deal With Children’s Stress
Even the smoothest, friendliest divorce can bring up a variety of feelings in a child. Ideally, you and your ex-partner if they are willing to help, should create a plan to help your children through any stress.
Depending on your situation, that may include taking the child to counseling, taking steps to reduce disruptions to the child’s daily routine, or letting the child be involved in custody decisions.
Some families even try alternative arrangements such as letting the children live in a house and having the parents rotate in and out of the house so the children don’t have to go from house to house. There is no right answer for everyone; you just need to find what works for your situation.
3. Listen to Your Child
In addition to taking formal steps to reduce your children’s stress through the divorce, you may also want to make a point of really listening to their concerns. Taking time to listen can be hard as a parent, especially when you are dealing with your own emotions around a stressful divorce.
However, whether your child is feeling angry, frustrated, or any other emotion, it helps if they have someone who is willing to listen to them. Don’t necessarily try to change their perspectives—that can lead to arguing. Instead, just listen and validate their concerns.
4. Find a Custody Arrangement That Works for Everyone
Dealing with the distribution of physical assets in a divorce is tricky, but setting up custody arrangements can be even more challenging. Ideally, you should work with a skilled family attorney who can help you create a custody arrangement that works for everyone.
For example, if you and your ex-partner have different religious beliefs, you may want to split up custody for holidays based on those religions. You may also want to take work schedules into account as well as the children’s preferences.
At the Lowry Law Firm, we help families through all kinds of legal issues from adoption to divorce to estate planning. If you are contemplating divorce or in the midst of a divorce, contact us today.