Divorce is never easy on adults, and it’s even harder on children. They don’t understand the complexities of marriage, and some children even feel at fault for their parents’ divorce. While getting a divorce can be stressful, it’s very important you put your child and his/her needs first. No matter the situation between you and your soon-to-be-ex, it’s extremely important to consider the following things for your children during divorce.
How to Talk to Them
Easing your child through divorce is easier when you have an open line of communication. Trying to hide it from your child or be discreet can often result in your child shutting down or acting out, and this is not something you want to do. Instead, you and your ex need to talk openly with your child, and you need to do it together. This way, you can both share the same messaging and ensure your child has the answers he/she needs. In addition, it also encourages both of you to still show a united front and not talk bad about the other person or point blame, as this is not something your child needs to see right now.
How to Help Them Cope
Many children will struggle with divorce, so it’s important for parents to find ways to help your child cope in a healthy way. Maybe this means sending your child to a family therapist so they can have someone to talk to, or maybe it simply means giving them a little bit more attention or a little bit more space. Sometimes children even benefit from signing up for a sport or doing an activity that takes their mind off it. Find out if there’s something your child wants to do that will be helpful, and take it from there.
How to Put Their Needs First
Unless physical harm was done to your child by your soon-to-be-ex, it’s very important to remember that you both play an important role in your child’s life and should be a role model. For this reason, putting your child’s needs first often requires considering joint custody. This way, both of you still have a say in how your child is raised, and you each get to spend equal time with your children. A family attorney can easily draw up a joint custody agreement that works for both parents. Try to work through your own feelings and ensure you both have enough time with your child. After all, in the end, it’s about your child and not you.
How to Ease the Transition
Divorce can often disrupt a child’s life in other ways. For instance, if you need to move, the child is now forced to live in new homes and possibly enter new schools, and this can make the situation worse. When possible, try to ease the divorce transition by keeping things as normal as possible. If one of the parents can keep the home, do it so your child has a place to feel safe. If you are forced to move, try to find a home in the same school district so your child doesn’t need to make this new transition as well. The more you can keep normal for your child, the easier the divorce can be in the long run.
Divorce is never easy, and while you’re going through your own emotions and stresses, remember to always put your child first.
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