Divorce Doesn’t Have to Damage Your Children: 10 Tips for Divorcing Parents
Divorce will never be easy on children, but it doesn’t have to leave them damaged. By keeping your children’s needs in mind at every step of the process, you can ensure your divorce impacts them as little as possible. Here are 10 tips for minimizing the damage of divorce on your children:
- Encourage your children to share their feelings. Your children may feel scared or alone, so it’s important that they are given plenty of opportunities to open up about their feelings. When children feel the need to keep painful feelings inside, it can cause long-term problems.
- Keep adult conflict and arguments away from the children. During the heat of divorce, you and your soon-to-be ex’s emotions may escalate. Intense emotions can lead to intense arguments. It’s important to keep these arguments away from your children, however. This will help your children feel safe, loved, and protected…even in the midst of divorce.
- Do not pit the child against the other parent. You may have strong negative emotions against your ex-partner. That’s normal! However, you must refrain from expressing these negative emotions in front of your children (even if your ex is not following this “rule”). Children need to feel love for—and loved by—both of their parents equally, especially when you are going through a divorce.
- Reassure your child that they did not do anything to cause the divorce. Your children will be curious as to why their parents are separating. They may blame themselves for the split. You must reassure them that the divorce was not caused by them.
- Tell your child that both parents will continue to love and spend time with them. Your children may feel isolated during this time. In their perspective, the two people that they depend on most are not getting along, and they feel lost. They might even question you or your partner’s love for them, since your love for each other is failing. It’s important that you communicate that you and your partner will always spend time with them, and that your love is unconditional and enduring.
- Find ways to reduce stress in your life. It’s hard to manage the personal stress that comes with divorce. However, finding time to take on a new hobby, exercise, begin therapy, meditate, or practice yoga—just for a few examples—can help you reduce stress and, as a result, be able to show up and be more present and available for your children.
- Do not use kids as messengers. It may be difficult to talk to your ex-partner, but remember that your children are not messengers. Some of the things you need to communicate to your ex-partner are not things your children should hear. Be mindful of how this could affect them, and keep them out of the back-and-forth with your ex!
- Your child may act as your caretaker…but do not let them. During this stressful time, your children may try to step up and “take care” of you. They want to be able to help you—which is really quite sweet—but, at the end of the day, they are children. They are the ones who need to be cared for in order to feel safe.
- Negotiate a healthy co-parenting relationship after divorce. If possible, try to maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship. Since your children are also your ex-partner’s children, it is only fair to be civilized when parenting is concerned. This makes it easier for everyone involved, but especially for your children.
- Expect bumps as your kids adjust to a new partner or the mate’s kids. Sometimes, during the divorce process, parents find themselves with a new partner. This can be incredibly difficult for the child. Keeping your child in the dark about your dating life is generally good practice, however, if you choose to introduce your children to your new partner, expect that it may take them some time to adjust, and that is perfectly normal.
A good divorce attorney does more than attend to the legal aspects of a divorce. They also provide clear advice concerning conflict-resolution strategies, which ultimately benefit your entire family.
To learn more about how best to ensure that your children’s well-being is protected—from the beginning through the end of your divorce—do not hesitate to reach out to the attorneys at Lazor Rantas, PC either by calling 973-457-8844 or using the contact form on our website.
Your children’s continued well-being should be a central priority from the beginning, and backed up with love all the way through to the end. We can help ensure that is the case for your divorce.