Divorce can be an agonizing experience for married couples. The stress of court proceedings and separating one relationship into two lives can be tremendous.
Things can be even more stressful when children are involved. If you’re in this situation, you may be wondering how to protect your children during a divorce.
Here are five things you can do to keep your children happy and safe when separating or going through a divorce.
1. MAKE SURE THEY KNOW ITS NOT THEIR FAULT
Children often believe they are responsible for their parents’ divorce. Use age appropriate language to explain to them that they are not to blame for the end of your marriage. Tell them that both parents love them and that this will not change because of the divorce.
It is always best if this can be done with the whole family together. Putting your differences aside and speaking to the children together as parents is always the best solution.
2. AVOID CONFLICTS IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN
Often it is the fights between divorcing parents that have the greatest impact on kids. Try not to fight with your spouse in front of your children. Don’t use them to send messages to your spouse or criticize the other parent in front of them.
Also, avoid using your children as spies or sources of information about your spouse. These actions could create apprehension and distrust.
3. KEEP THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN
Your child may experience fear, anger, and sadness as a result of your divorce. They may be not able to articulate these feelings or they may be afraid to express how they feel.
Set the example for your kids and share how you are feeling. Then be sure to listen to what they have to say, and answer their questions as best you can without giving them too much information.
4. REASSURE THEM WITH CONSISTENT ROUTINES
Children living through a divorce may feel that the world as they know it is coming to an end. This radical change in their lives could result in high levels of anxiety and insecurity. They may worry about having their material needs met or fear abandonment. Try to maintain as much consistency in their routines as possible.
Maintaining mealtimes, after school activities and bedtimes can help provide a sense of stability.
Further, never discuss your financial situation with your children, or in the presence of your children. If you are in a poor financial position, do not tell the children that you can’t afford something because of the divorce.
5. TAKE CO-PARENTING SERIOUSLY
You will be required to complete a co-parenting course in the County where your action is pending. However, it is always beneficial to undergo additional co-parenting courses either with a professional counselor or through a church or community based organization.
One of the main things that a court considers in awarding custody is how much the custodial parent will promote a positive relationship with the other parent. Courts take co-parenting very seriously.
Using a shared calendar, or a program like “Our Family Wizard”, can assist you making sure that both parents are involved with all aspects of the child’s life, even if they don’t communicate well in other areas.
You and your children do not have to face divorce alone. The team at Oxendine & Sauls, LP are available to help you through this difficult time in your lives.