Any divorce that involves children has extra complications. How will you be able to get your children through this difficult experience? Every family has its own unique factors to consider. There is no one good answer to how it should be handled. But there are some general good practices to keep in mind that can make the process less painful for children.
- Encourage Children to Talk About How They Feel
Parents need to talk to their kids about what the kids are thinking and feeling. The parents also need to keep this discussion separate from their own feelings. Parents should be prepared to deal with strong feelings from the children that either parent or both are responsible for the divorce and the loss of their normal family life.
Most kids struggle with divorce for two or three years. That is not to say they “get over it” by the end of that time, but it is normal for them to have the strongest feelings for that length of time.
Tempting as it is to tell children not to have certain feelings, it does not work. Children, and adults, have the feelings that they have. Forcing them not to express unhappy feelings will make them less likely to share their true feelings with you.
- Take the High Road
It is difficult, but adult conflict should be kept away from the children. It is important never to say bad things about your ex-spouse in front of the kids. The single biggest factor in kids’ readjustment after divorce is the level of adult conflict they have been exposed to.
- Don’t Use the Children as Messengers
It is tempting to use kids as go-betweens, since they are on speaking terms with your ex-spouse and you may not be, but don’t do it. Also, resist using the kids to find out what is going on in the other household. The kids do not want to “spy” on their parents.
- Adjustments to New Mates and Mates’ Children Are Difficult
Blended families can add some temporary stress to kids’ worlds. Make sure your children continue to get one-on-one time, and that lines of communication are open.
- If You Need Help, Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For It
If you need support, you can get it, whether the need is large or small. Family, friends, religious organizations and support groups have advice and willing to help.
- Take Care of Yourself and Keep Stress Low
Stressed-out parents will have a hard time lowering their kids’ stress. Set a good example. Florida divorce attorneys know that lower stress all around will benefit everyone involved in a divorce.