Divorce is obviously hard on you and your spouse, but it’s arguably harder on kids who don’t always understand or know how to handle their emotions. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to help ease this burden.
How to Make Divorce Easier on Your Children
Whether you like it or not, your divorce is going to have an impact on your children. The key is to limit the negative impact and make the transition as seamless a possible. Here are some tips and ideas to help you manage this issue.
Pursue Divorce Mediation
A traditional divorce – especially one with litigation – can be intense, time-consuming and unnecessarily toxic for your family’s future. If at all possible, consider an alternative such as divorce mediation. The process is much less heated and provides some privacy and protection for kids.
“As a neutral third party, a highly skilled family law mediator will offer creative solutions for parenting arrangements that have each of you seeing the kids as much as possible,” Equitable Mediation explains. “While minimizing the damage that constant switching from house-to-house can do to your kids, especially if they’re younger children.”
Never Fight in Front of the Kids
Considering that you’re getting a divorce, fighting is probably something you and your spouse do a lot. And while it might come naturally to you, try your best to avoid fighting in front of the kids – especially during the divorce process.
When you fight in front of your kids, you create an unstable environment that’s hard for them to deal with. Everything you say will be taken literally and you’ll only exacerbate what’s already a stressful situation. While it’s best to have adult conversations and avoid loud arguments, have them in privacy if they must occur.
Keep a Consistent Schedule
A divorce is totally unsettling for kids – especially older kids who know what’s happening. While there’s a lot that you can’t control, do what you can to establish some degree of constancy and dependability during this tumultuous time.
One of the best pieces of advice is to maintain a consistent schedule. This could look like waking up and fixing the kids breakfast, taking them to school, picking them up at the same time, and having family time together in the afternoons and evenings. This sort of stability gives them something to cling to when everything else seems to be in an uncertain state.
Provide Emotional Support
When kids are older and able to understand what’s happening, they’re going to have questions. Instead of ignoring these difficult topics, sit down and lend emotional support. The more they know what to expect, the less jarring the results will be. There are obviously details you don’t need to get into, but avoid dumbing things down. Your kids are smarter than you think.
Avoid the Blame Game
Whatever you do, avoid playing the blame game. You might be totally disgusted with your spouse’s behavior, but you have to remember that your spouse is still the parent of your children. Constantly talking bad about them, or putting all of the blame on their shoulders, will do nothing but foster resentment in your kids. You’re better than that.
Be Bigger Than the Situation
A divorce is a very emotional and influential event in a child’s life. Even if they don’t totally understand what’s happening, they know that something is changing and it will have an impact on their daily life. As a parent, it’s your job to rise above the situation. The stronger and more stable you are, the better off your kids will be.