Going through a divorce or separation can be a difficult time for the entire family. Regardless of the age of your children, they will face changes, so here are some things you can do to help them move forward:
Have a plan. Speak with your spouse about when and how you will discuss your divorce or separation with your children. Consider doing so on a day that allows for some family time and for your children to process the news. If it is extremely difficult for you and your spouse to agree on how to talk to your children, it may be wise to get input from a counselor on the best way to do so.
Talk to your children together as a family. When both parents deliver the news, it shows that they are committed to working through this together. By meeting as a whole family, it ensures the children hear the news directly from their parent rather than from a sibling or other source.
Leave out the specific relationship details. Divorce and separation are adult problems that can be difficult for kids to understand. They don’t need the added confusion of navigating the reasons behind the decision, so it is often best to fill them in on the general nature of the separation and leave out the deeper details.
Tell your kids what will change and what will stay the same. This helps prepare children for the upcoming changes and be comforted by things that are staying the same. In times like these, children will benefit from routine, so do things like read stories together each night, use the same babysitter, or check in with the children each morning.
Understand children may have different reactions. This can be a very difficult time for your children, and they may not know how to express what they are feeling. Some may respond in emotional ways while others may hold their feelings inside. It is important to allow your child to express their feelings in their own unique way and provide them the support that they need.
Set an example for your children. Your child will no doubt be looking for guidance during this period of change. Try to leave any drama of the divorce or separation out of your relationship with your children. In doing so, you will avoid making your kids feel stuck in the middle or as if they need to pick sides. Instead, they are able remember they have two loving parents who will always be there for them.
Don’t disparage the other parent in front of the children. Your children closely identify with both parents, and when you put down the other parent, your child may perceive that as you putting down a part of them.
To receive more information about how we can assist you with family law matters during this difficult time, please contact one of the experienced family law attorneys at Berkowitz Cook Gondring Driskell & Drobeck, LLC.
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