The number one concern of every parent who chooses to end their marriage is, “How will this affect my kids?” Some couples choose to stay together despite their issues because they think that, in the long run, it will be better for their children, but a significant amount of data and research proves otherwise. So, if you’ve decided to pursue divorce, you have nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing wrong with wanting a beautiful life, and even though it may be a difficult road, you should be proud of yourself for taking action, taking back control, and chasing after your vision.

We would never lie to you and say that your divorce won’t affect your kids, because it likely will. The good news is that children are incredibly resilient and have a great capacity for navigating the challenges that their parents’ divorce presents. Remember, while divorce may change the family dynamic, it does not define the future trajectory of your kids’ lives! With love, patience, and understanding, families can weather the storm of divorce and emerge united, stronger than ever!

In this blog, we’ll tell you the 5 most important things you can do to ensure that your kids are coping with your divorce in a healthy way.

1. Communicate Openly And Honestly

No matter how much effort you put into shielding your children from the truth, you are likely underestimating how intuitive they can be. It’s best to engage in open and honest communication with your children about your divorce to avoid them having to “fill in the blanks” with their own answers – which are usually not correct and have the potential to cause them an immense amount of emotional stress. While it’s not always possible in every circumstance, having both parents there for the difficult conversations is a good way for them to see that you are on the same page and present a unified parental front. In this way, you can limit their confusion and give them a sense of stability during this tumultuous time.

During these conversations, you can give your kids the opportunity to ask questions and you should try to answer as honestly as possible with healthy boundaries. For example, you should not dump your marital baggage on them or reveal all the conflict that exists between you and your spouse that led you to this decision. Then, you can explain what life will look like for them – both short-term and long-term – and reassure them that your divorce has nothing to do with them. Unfortunately, many children have a distorted view of divorce that may lead to them taking on this guilt unwittingly. In short, honesty is the best policy in this case.

2. Provide Reassurance And Stability

The second part to your open and honest communication with your kids is your response to it. It’s crucial to respect their emotions and reassure them that you aren’t going to be upset or mad that they have these feelings. Instead, you should validate their emotions through careful listening and empathy, and avoid giving them the idea that their feelings are a problem that need to be solved or “gotten over.” It’s common to experience a difference in your kids as they go through this adjustment period, and you could begin to see them struggle with guilt, anxiety, behavior issues, regression, withdrawal, or trouble focusing. By reassuring them that what they’re going through is normal and providing as much stability as you can moving forward, your kids will be able to deal with this challenge much more effectively.

3. Prioritize Co-Parenting And Cooperation

Making the transition into co-parenting can be arduous, but the more you and your partner can prioritize cooperation, the easier it will be on your kids. The first way to accomplish this is to set aside your hurt and anger and ensure that it takes a back seat to the needs of your children. While this may be easier said than done, it is vital that you don’t allow your anger, resentment, or hurt get in the way of your kids’ happiness, stability, and future well-being. Then, you both need to start practicing effective co-parenting habits, like consistent and purposeful communication, making transitions and visitations as effortless as possible, and treating co-parenting as if it is a team effort – because it is!

4. Choose Professional Support Carefully

While some people attempt to push their way through divorce on their own, it is in your best interests to seek legal support when kids are involved. Matters pertaining to your kids have the potential to cause a lot of conflict due to the intense emotions at play, which can make it difficult to think rationally and make sound decisions. It’s important to choose a divorce attorney or mediator that understands what you and your children are going through and will treat you like a real family with real problems – not like you are just another case file. Their legal skill and experience allows them to be able to ensure that the outcome of your divorce will cater to the best interests of your children.

Other professionals who may be able to support your kids process everything during this time include school social workers, mental health or family counselors who specialize in children’s issues, psychologists or therapists, religious leaders, and support groups led by trained facilitators.

5. Encourage Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Even if you feel you’re doing everything you can to help your children cope, sometimes they may just need an outlet for the big emotions they’re experiencing. Encourage them to pursue healthy ones, like extracurricular activities they enjoy, clubs, sports teams, and other interests. Help them find music they enjoy, movies or television shows that lighten their mood (even if it’s only for a short time), and books that make them want to read. Older kids might find it beneficial to begin journaling or creating some other art that allows them to process their feelings. As a parent, you should also do your part to make sure that they are eating healthy and getting enough sleep to promote their overall wellness.

We’ve Been Where You Are. Let Us Help You Weather The Storm

Our lead attorney, Hannah Hembree Bell, founded the firm after going through her own divorce with kids. She knows the kind of support, encouragement, and legal competence both you and your kids need to move forward with confidence. We take the time to get to know you and develop a strategy that puts you in the best position to achieve the post-divorce future you desire. Call today to schedule your free initial case evaluation and learn more about how we can serve you!

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