Children of all ages generally want their parents to stay together. Even so, when parents make the decision to split, having parents in two separate households becomes a reality. Here are some tips on making that transition easier for the kids.
Preparing for the Divorce
As adults, it is important for parents to prepare for emotional reactions from children when they learn that a divorce is imminent. It’s a tough time for everyone, but kids may feel powerless as their lives experience an unprecedented upheaval. Help them in these ways:
- Keep disagreements with your spouse private. Children don’t need to experience your anger or know the details of your complaints.
- Sit down together with your spouse to discuss your choice to end the marriage with your children. Assure them they are loved, and they are not the reason for the divorce.
- Be cognizant of changes in behavior, sleep patterns, school performance, and mood. Be available, and offer continued reassurances that they are loved and life will still be good, just different.
- Don’t sugarcoat the facts. Let them know what is happening, how they will be impacted, and that you will be there for them.
After the Divorce
Once the divorce is finalized, it is important to try to maintain normalized relationships. Behave civilly, Do the things that indicate you care about the kids and want to make things smooth and relaxed during visitations:
- Send clean clothes for the visit. If the kids come to visit you, wash their weekend items before sending them back.
- Be flexible with the schedule and allow for make-up visits due to special events, illness, or other necessary changes.
- Try to agree as parents on behavior, expectations, and schedules. Don’t violate bedtimes or encourage behaviors and activities that you know your ex disapproves of.
- Share information about school, extracurricular events, and medical issues with the co-parent, and invite their participation.
- Prepare kids for visits and phone calls in a positive way;
- Don’t appear judgmental about the other parent and what goes on in their home. If you have issues with your ex, discuss those concerns in private.
Interacting with your Ex
Realize that your former spouse will be in your life for many years if you have children together. Do yourself a favor by treating them fairly and with dignity:
- Praise what they do right.
- Apologize if you make a mistake or lose your cool.
- Engage in basic courtesies like saying hello, goodbye, please, and thank you.
- Think before engaging. Don’t automatically say no to their requests. Be fair.
- Avoid sarcasm.
- Don’t use guilt or blame as tools to get them to do what you want.
- They will see many situations differently. Give their views a fair shake.
A divorce need not be a traumatizing event for children. At the office of Derek L. Hall, PC, The Heavy Hitter, our experienced divorce attorneys understand the implications of divorce and can help you achieve the results you desire. Contact our assertive, yet compassionate team today for a confidential, no-cost consultation in our Jackson office today.