How To Ease The Pain Of Divorce On Children
WILLMORE LAW FIRM
How to Help Children During a Divorce
Divorce is stressful for the entire family. A divorce is between the adults, not the children. Your children could have feelings of fault, sadness and/or anxiety. Responsible behavior and communication between the adults will provide positivity for your children and will help them adjust accordingly during this time.
Informing the Children about a Divorce
Being honest with your children and talking with them together as parents is best. It is extremely imperative to omit any nasty details. It’s best to communicate to your children the reasons you and your spouse will be living separately. Again, the divorce is between the adults, not the children. Reassure them they are not the cause, in any way, and both parents love them.
Another important step is to inform the children’s teachers, counselors and doctors of the divorce. This will allow them to discern, keep you informed of any concerns they may have and offer any guidance as needed.
Mixed Reactions from Children
Your children may express concern for where they will live, if they will change schools, their extracurricular activities and overall, what will happen to them during this process. It’s best to maintain your children’s routine as much as possible. If needed, quickly establish a new routine as you work out the details of the divorce with your spouse. Your children will have a sense of security when they know what’s expected.
As the reality and stress of divorce settles in, a younger child may regress to behavior they had previously outgrown (for example; wetting the bed or sucking on a pacifier). It’s also possible that separation anxiety could reappear. Talk with your children about putting their feelings into words, rather than reacting through their behavior.
Older children may express their emotions through anger, anxiety or grief. They may even turn their anger inward and become withdrawn or depressed. Anger could possibly cause the older child to act out or develop behavioral issues. It’s important to communicate with them and encourage them to be as open as possible with their feelings.
Don’t include your children in the fight
Respect your children and their relationship with the other parent. This will help them to adapt to the divorce. Remember:
Keep positive communication about your spouse in front of your children.
Keep your children away from the opportunity to choose sides between parents.
Avoid using your children as messengers or go-between to parents.
Keep arguments or discussions about child support issues away from them.
Avoid asking your children for information or details about the other parent.
Do not use your children as a vice to hurt the other parent.
Keep the rules consistent; do not bend them
It may be tempting to relax or bend the rules during the children’s grievance about the divorce. This could lead your children to feel even more insecure. They thrive on structure. It’s important their routine is consistent, even if they are testing the boundaries. It is vital to maintain parallel rules in both homes if sharing time between two households.
Counseling for Children of Divorce
Your own feelings of hurt may be overwhelming during the divorce that you turn to your child for comfort. This is not your children’s responsibility. Consider a divorce support group to assist you in sorting through your feelings. You can seek counseling through a social service agency or mental health center. Also, you may consider using the services of a divorce mediator to reach decisions about your children during or after the divorce.
Your children may benefit from counseling if they seem depressed, have behavioral issues or are having trouble adjusting to the divorce.
Keep your children first
Interaction with your spouse during a divorce is important even if it’s the last thing you want to do. Your children need both parents. The best interest for your children is to work out a custody arrangement and other details. Put their needs ahead of your own.
Your children’s mental health could be affected by a bitter, elongated custody battle. Help your children to maintain a loving, strong relationship with the other parent while working on common parenting goals together. The best tool during the challenges of a divorce is support from both parents.
To learn more about California divorce law, legal issues surrounding divorce, as well as how to protect your rights and interests in a divorce, contact San Diego Divorce Lawyer Joseph Willmore today by calling (619) 550-6738.