If you and your partner are divorcing, you’ve probably got a thousand things on your mind. But don’t forget your children during this huge life transition. Many experts agree that children are the ones most affected during a divorce. Keep reading to find tips from family experts on how to help your children understand and process your divorce in a healthy way.
How Should I Tell My Kids?
KidsHealth recommends talking to your kids about your decision to live apart as soon as you make your plans. Although there’s no easy way to break the news, have both parents present for this conversation if possible. It’s important to try to leave feelings of anger, guilt, or blame out of it. Practice ahead of time how you’re going to tell your kids so you don’t become upset or angry during the talk. The discussion should fit the child’s age, maturity, and temperament. If you have younger kids, Psychology Today suggests starting the conversation with something like “ “Mommy and Daddy fight all the time and it makes us all unhappy. We’ve decided it would be better for all of us if we live in separate houses.”
The Most Important Message
Experts across the board agree that no matter the ages of your children, the most important message you can get across is that it’s not their fault. Unfortunately, most kids will feel they’re to blame even after parents have said that they’re not. This feeling of blame can result in severe anxiety and other emotional problems for children. Even after explaining it the first time, keep reassuring children of all ages that they are in no way at fault for your divorce.
During the Divorce Process
- Keep visible conflict, heated discussions, and legal talk away from the kids.
- Minimize the disruptions to kids’ daily routines.
- Confine negativity and blame to private therapy sessions or conversations with friends outside the home.
- Keep each parent involved in the kids’ lives.
- Be prepared to answer questions that kids might ask about what is changing in their normal routine or future plans. Kids will probably ask when they will be able to see each of their parents and where each parent will live. Be prepared to answer these questions as truthfully as possible, and be honest when you don’t have the answer.
- Encourage honesty and ask kids how they are feeling and what they think about the process. Be a good listener and let them know that their feelings are valid.
- Offer support by asking your kids what would help them feel better or safer.
- Keep yourself healthy. Get counseling and outside help so that you can better support your kids during this process and manage your stress in a healthy way.
- Be civil with your ex, especially in front of your kids. Don’t resort to blaming or name-calling while your kids are around.
Need legal assistance? The Law Offices of Michael M. Raheb, P.A. is here to make divorce as simple as possible in the Naples, FL area. We offer convenient evening appointments and client support around the clock. Get started with your free case evaluation today. Call us at 239-226-0888 or contact us online.
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