We get asked this a lot by parents who are planning a divorce, or caught up in the middle of a messy one. It’s a common concern that moms and dads have, and it should be – divorce is very hard on kids and they rarely come out the other side unchanged. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to be “ruined” or that your divorce has to “destroy” their lives.
There are tools and strategies you can use to help them work through the worst bits, and things you can do to maintain your relationship with your kids. It’s going to be hard, and there are likely to be times when you think you’re failing horribly (what parent hasn’t experienced that?) However, you’re not alone, and many others have succeeded in the past, which means there’s hope for you and your children. Don’t lose sight of that!
Tools to put in your ‘divorcing parent’ tool box:
We’ve decided to break this down into two categories – the tools would be specifically items available to you to use, and the strategies are approaches and methods you could try. Let’s check out the tools first.
Books are a wonderful tool that can help you explain divorce to your younger children, while still providing you with opportunities to snuggle, spend time together, and read. Besides, what kids doesn’t love a story? So check out these great books aimed at helping parents who’se kids are having a hard time with their divorce.
- Two Homes: In this story a young child named Alex reassures kids that they will continue to be loved despite divorce or separation.
- Horton Hatches the Egg: In this Dr Seuss inspired tale, an egg’s mother flies off to Palm Springs to start a new life. Horton then assumes the responsibility of caring for the egg on his own, and is able to provide enough love and care even though he doesn’t have a partner to help him.
- It’s not your fault Koko Bear: This picture book meant for young children, the authors remind kids of the most important facts – the divorce isn’t their fault, and they’re still loved and important to their families.
- Dinosaurs Divorce: A guide for changing families: This book provides a clear breakdown for young kids about what to expect, and what the future might be like. It’s delivery is simple and straightforward, which can be very helpful to divorcing moms and dads!
- A smart girl’s guide to her parent’s divorce: Written for older kids (specifically girls), this book provides advice, tips from other girls who’ve survived their parent’s divorces, and a breakdown of what to expect, from multiple homes to remarriage.
- Divorce is the worst: Kids are often told that their parents divorces are best, but it sure doesn’t feel that way to them. This book gives them permission to experience all of their feelings, and helps them express what’s happening in their heads.
There are so many resources available nowadays…
There was a time when divorce had such a stigma attached to it, that finding anything to help you parent through those difficult times was practically impossible. Thankfully, there are now loads of resources available to help kids and their divorcing parents work through the changes. Join us next time when we’ll be looking at how activities, like games, can help your children cope with their feelings during a divorce.
Until then, if you have questions about the divorce process yourself, or are confused about what you can expect, feel free to come in and talk to our skilled and understanding family law attorneys. We have decades of experience representing Michigan families during their divorces, including helping them make good choices for their families, and we can help you too.