Going through a divorce can be difficult enough for yourself, but it makes it even more painful to watch your children hurting, too. Divorce impacts kids in different ways than adults, but it can be harder for them since they don’t understand what’s going on, and may blame themselves. Here are five tips for going through a divorce with kids and helping them cope.
Choose Carefully What You Tell Them
It’s important to be honest with kids about the divorce, but there is such a thing as telling them too much. Plan carefully what you’ll say so that you keep them out of the fray as much as possible. Explain the facts without getting into the nitty-gritty. Remember, the goal is for them to understand the divorce but not to be drawn into the fighting. Avoiding putting them in a position where you confide in them too much or put them in a position of having to choose sides.
Surround Them With a Support Network
You’re entering a confusing time for your kids, and it’s important to realize that right now they need a support network other than their parents. Encourage their grandparents and other extended family members and friends to let your kids know they’re there for them, as they may not want to talk to you about some of their feelings and fears regarding the divorce. Having people they can depend on during this difficult and upsetting period in their life will help them cope with it better.
Get Professional Help
Going through a divorce with kids can be traumatic for everyone, but especially for the children, who aren’t mature enough to understand or cope with what’s happening. Even with the support network of extended family and friends, your kids may need someone professional to talk to, someone who can guide them and teach them important coping mechanisms during this difficult time. Don’t hesitate to seek out the assistance of a counselor or therapist, for your kids’ benefit and possibly for your own as well.
Don’t Fight in Front of Them
Even if you used to fight in front of the kids, now that you are divorcing, try to shield the kids from any further fighting. As you get further into the divorce, the fights have the potential to get uglier, and the kids don’t need to see you fighting over money or possessions, let alone over them. If you can, redirect the fighting entirely by letting all of the important negotiations and decisions go through the lawyers and the courts.
Put Your Kids First
This is going to be a tough time for both your kids and you, but you can find your way through it by remembering to always put your kids first. You’re going through a divorce presumably because you’ve realized that your marriage is no longer healthy for yourself, but probably also because it’s the best thing for your kids. Remembering to put your kids’ needs first will help you to make good decisions as you navigate the separation and divorce.
Bonus Tip: Find a Good Attorney
You can relieve yourself of a lot of stress, and therefore improve the situation for your children, by hiring a good attorney to manage your divorce. Having an attorney to run things during a divorce with kids means less pressure on you and your ex to make decisions, fewer opportunities to fight, and (hopefully) less stress for the kids throughout the process too. Contact Simon Law Group, PLLC, today for a consultation of your case, and start building a better life for your kids today.