Divorce can be a difficult time for children, and children handle stress in a variety of ways. As parents you can help your children manage the stress they may suffer from your divorce by employing some simple strategies and keeping the channels of communication open. Here are some pointers to help keep your family healthy during and after your divorce:
- Respect your child’s right to love both parents. Children have a natural and innate need to love both parents. When parents fight, bad-mouth one another or disengage from their children during and after divorce, children may become anxious and depressed. Parents can minimize this type of stress by speaking respectfully to and about their former partner at all times, especially in the presence of the children they share.
- Plan how and what you tell your children. Children are intuitive beings and do not appreciate being left to guess as to why you are getting divorced. Plan and strategize a real conversation — or several — to tell your children truthfully, directly and clearly why your marriage is ending. Avoid divulging personal information or discussing intimate details, and speak in an age-appropriate manner.
- Listen, reassure and allow a range of feeling and expression. Children deal with stress if different ways. Some become anxious, some depressed, some act out and some withdraw. Every reaction is acceptable, and every reaction has the potential to interfere with a child’s functioning. Encourage children to express their most difficult feelings. If you are not able to tolerate these feelings, seek professional help for your child. At the very least, assure children that you both love them and you are not divorcing them. Be present and attentive so your child continues to feel loved and secure.
An experienced and compassionate divorce attorney can help support you through your divorce process so your family can remain as happy and healthy as possible. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to speak to an attorney you can trust.