Thanks for joining us again. In the previous article we discussed how divorce can be very stressful for children. We also talked about the first five things on our list of ways that parents can make the process easier for their children. Moving forward, we would like to take a look at the last five items on our list, and provide you with a sound basis for moving forward with your divorce in a way that will be easier for your kids.
How a child reacts to a divorce is determined by many factors. These factors can include age, personality type, and even the circumstances surrounding the divorce itself. However, another important factor that affects them is how you and your spouse handle the divorce. No divorce is ever easy or stress free, but there are several things you can do to help your kids deal with their feelings, and process what is happening in a healthy way. Picking up, where we left off last time…
Keep confrontations to a minimum
Confrontations are stressful for everyone – the people involved and the people on the sidelines! So work hard to minimize the number of fights and angry confrontations you have in front of your children. The stress brought on by their parent’s conflicts only makes an already difficult situation even harder for them.
Don’t trash-talk their other parent
Regardless of how upset you are at your soon-to-be-ex, don’t share your opinions with your children. Saying rude, unkind or disrespectful things about their other parent puts them in an awkward position. They often feel like they have to choose sides, and struggle with guilt and shame for moving the other parent. Poisoning your children against your spouse/ex will not only make this process harder for them to handle now, it will also make healing harder later on in life. So if you have to get something off your chest, don’t do it where your children are likely to overhear you.
Be honest with your kids, but also tactful. Your children need to know what to expect so that they can be prepared for upcoming changes, but they don’t need all of the details. It’s important to let your kids know about situations that may be different in future, or circumstances that will require adjustment. But be sure to tell them in a way that doesn’t assign blame, or place the fault solely on your spouse.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations
Regardless of how hard you try to make this easy for your children, know that they are still going to struggle. No matter how well you prepare them, and how hard you work to minimize stress, they will experience frustrations, anger and hurt feelings that they will need to process. This is normal, and expecting anything else is unrealistic. The best thing you can do is give them the space to work through their feelings without judgement or blame.
Get them help if they need it
If your child is having a particularly difficult time processing your divorce, or is displaying signs of depression or severe anxiety, you may need to seek out professional help. Some children are better equipped to handle change, and some are very sensitive and easily upset. If your child is having a harder time than you believed they would with the divorce, don’t hesitate to get them the professional help they need. Counselling, and therapy can make a big difference to a child who is having great difficulty working through their parent’s divorce.
Remember, everyone copes differently and everyone has different needs during hard times. Be patient with your children. Give them the time and compassion that they need to heal. With the right support, your kids will grow up better able to cope with stress and conflict. They will also potentially be more flexible as adults, which will allow them to adapt faster to unexpected scenarios, which is a great life skill to have.
One of the things that can make divorce even harder than it needs to be is having the wrong attorney. If you or a loved one are considering divorce but aren’t sure what the next move is, come in and talk to our skilled family law attorneys. The Kronzek Firm offers a free consultation so that you can determine if one of our attorneys is a good fit for your case. Call us at 866 766 5245 to schedule an appointment today.