Getting divorced can take a toll on family members, especially children of divorce. So keep reading to learn how to help your child adjust to their new life.
Did you know that more than 40% of first marriages result in a divorce?
Going through a divorce is never an easy situation. Not only does divorce affect the couple at hand, but it also affects family members.
Children especially can have a challenging time dealing with a divorce. They may be confused about the situation and why a divorce is happening. Additionally, they may struggle to get adjusted to their new lifestyle.
Continue reading to learn about tips and strategies for handling children of divorce.
Be Truthful and Honest
There will come a time when you will have to tell your children about your divorce. Understandably, this will be an emotional experience for them.
You and your spouse can decide when is the best time to share the news with your children. It is important to be truthful and honest when you and your spouse discuss the divorce with your children.
The specific details you choose to share should be dependent on your children’s age and maturity level. Often, children do not understand why divorces happen. They have meaningful relationships with both parents and cannot fathom why their parents are ending their marriage.
As you speak honestly with your children, it is imperative that you explain to your children that they are not responsible for your divorce. Ensure that they know that both mom and dad love them very dearly and will remain present in their lives.
One of the best ways to explain your divorce is to state that you and your spouse have grown apart and are no longer compatible. You and your spouse want to be the best parents possible and divorce can allow you to do this.
Do Not Speak Negatively of Each Other
During these initial conversations, it is essential that you and your spouse do not speak poorly of each other (unless of extreme cases like abuse).
If you or your spouse begin to speak negatively of each other, your children will notice and form opinions. They will begin to blame a specific parent and may get angry.
Even if your spouse damaged your marriage, he or she could still be an excellent parent to your children. It is important to remember that your romantic life is not your children’s business.
The most successful way to co-parent after a divorce is when your children hold respect for both parents. Of course, there are situations where one parent may be toxic and engage in illegal activities.
Your child may already recognize this and acknowledge a divorce is the best thing for the family. In such situations, explain that your divorce will ensure your children’s safety and well-being.
Prepare Your Children For A New Lifestyle
In most situations, children are accustomed to living with both of their parents under one roof. With a divorce, this will change dramatically.
As you explain your divorce and how it will affect the future, be clear with your children that mom and dad will no longer be living together. Share with your children that they will still have quality time with both mom and dad.
If you and your spouse have already created a custody plan, describe the details to your children. Explain that they will spend certain days with mom and other dads with dad. This includes weekdays and weekends.
If you or your spouse decide to move out of state, this can make custody even more challenging. In most cases, your children will stay with one parent throughout the school year. They may visit the other parent during holidays or summer break.
A key aspect of helping your children adjust is being completely transparent with them. If they have any questions about how custody will work, answer them in a loving and clear manner.
Allow Your Children to Share How They Are Feeling
Your children will most likely feel an array of emotions as you share your divorce with them. It is important to not only let them ask questions but to encourage them to share how they are feeling.
Invite them to be completely honest and open about their feelings. Let them know you will not get upset no matter what they say.
They may feel mad, frustrated, or sad. This is completely normal. As hard as it may be for you and your spouse to hear what your children have to say, this is a critical part of the adjustment process.
Develop a Routine and Provide Structure for Children of Divorce
While your children will have to adjust to a new lifestyle, it is critical to provide structure and stability. A divorce can be overwhelming.
Try to keep life as normal as possible for your children. One of the best approaches to doing this is to develop and/or maintain a routine.
This will allow them to get used to custody plans, while still focusing on school, friends, and extra-curricular activities. If they had a set bedtime or dinner time before the divorce, try to stay true to their schedule.
Structure will help your children not only be more equipped to handle a new lifestyle but will allow them to continue to thrive.
Contact Johnson/Turner Legal Today
Divorces affect all members of the family, especially your children. As you and your spouse prepare for divorce, it is critical that you are truthful with your children and provide support during this difficult time.
At Johnson/Turner Legal, we help families every day with divorce, child custody, and child support representation. Our team understands how impactful a divorce can be on children. We desire to help you make the process as easy as possible for your children.
If you have any questions on how to handle children of divorce, please do not hesitate to ask. To learn more about our team and our services, please contact us today.