Divorce can be one of the most challenging things that anyone experiences. And for a child, the impact can be life-changing. At Schneider Law Firm, P.C., parents often ask us how to help their kids cope with divorce. We work hard to help them resolve issues while minimizing the impact and making things easier for their children.
Take Care of Yourself
Divorce often comes with worry about finances, changes to the family schedule and overall conflict. It can take a toll on even the healthiest parent. To help your kids cope, make sure that you are managing your own stress appropriately. That way, you’ll be there for them when they need you.
Keep the Details of Divorce Away From the Kids
It’s also important to keep the details of your divorce between you, your ex, your lawyers and the court. Your children don’t need to know exactly who said what, especially when a divorce is heated—like when infidelity was involved.
To keep your divorce just between adults:
- Keep letters, emails or text messages locked up or password-protected. Older kids may be curious about exactly what’s going on, and they’ll seek out details that you may not want them to know.
- Talk about the details outside of your home. Kids are often listening when you think they aren’t. It’s a good practice to have divorce-related conversations with your friends outside of the home. Just because the TV is on or the child is in the next room does not mean that they’re protected from hearing things that could be hurtful.
- Avoid fighting in front of the kids. At the beginning of the divorce, agree with your spouse that you won’t fight in front of the kids. Parenting-time handoffs should be about working together to co-parent effectively.
- Do not badmouth your ex, no matter how tempting it may be. Even when you really want to say something negative, hold back. Vent to your therapist, supportive friends and family members instead. Nasty comments can have a great and unintended impact on a child.
Let Your Kids Know That It’s Okay to Feel However They Feel
Some kids react to divorce right away. Others deny that they’re having any feelings, often as a way to attempt to hold onto “normalcy.” Regardless of how your child reacts to the divorce, remind them that they can always come to you to talk about how they feel. For very young children, you might have to put words to their feelings. For example, “it sounds like you feel sad that things have changed.”
Also, be prepared for and open to however your children feel. It’s not uncommon for children to feel relieved, happy and excited about the future when their parents divorce. Discuss positive emotions just as you would negative ones. These feelings are just as valid.
Talk With an Attorney About Divorce and Your Child
If you’d like help reducing the impact of a divorce on your child, start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 . Consultations with our attorneys are confidential.