Research shows that approximately 20% of children from divorced homes grow up to have some kind of psychological and/or social problem, nearly all of which are preventable. The key is for parents to assure that their marital problems take second place to their children’s needs for stability and healthy communication.
Talking to your children about your divorce will probably be the most difficult thing you do during the entire divorce process. Here are some suggestions to help you and your kids get through this difficult transition:
- Allow Your Kids To Express Themselves. Be prepared to have many conversations with your children about the divorce – they should be given many opportunities to communicate their thoughts and feelings, none of which should be dismissed. Read books about divorce to young children and encourage young children and teenagers to express themselves through art and music. In this day and age, it is difficult to eliminate all distractions and to give a child your undivided attention, but you’ll need to try. Turn off the TV and cell phones, and relish the opportunity to be with them.
- Adapt To Their Schedule. During this unstable time, try to maintain your children’s daily routine. Consider their schedules when making parenting plans, and prepare for some inconveniences for their sake.
- If You Can't Say Something Nice, Don't Say Anything. Remembering this may help you refrain from badmouthing your ex and from drawing your children into your fights.
- Get Help If Needed. There are an infinite number of resources available for divorcing parents and their children. Use them – you will be surprised how helpful they can be.
- Remember, It’s An Ongoing Process. As your children grow, they will have more to say and new issues will arise. Be prepared to revisit the divorce frequently with your children for many years to come.
Our family law office can help you with your property division and custody issues, but that is only a small part of your divorce. Parenting through this transition – and afterwards – will most likely be your biggest challenge. Staying connected and flexible will help you focus on helping your kids adapt positively to the continual changes in their lives.