Depending on the exact circumstances surrounding your divorce, you might have had months (or even years) to prepare for the day that you finally serve your spouse with divorce papers. It can be a liberating feeling if that day is a long time coming, but someone very close to you who may not have sensed anything wrong with your marriage is your child. You know that on top of handling your emotions and feelings during the divorce process, you also have to account for the way your child will process the ordeal. To help you in this part of your divorce, we have provided four tips to help you help your children in this difficult time.
1. Sit down with your spouse (if at all possible) and break the news to them. Many spouses agonize over the best way to break the news of their divorce to their children. Your approach will be different based on your child’s age, but there is one key point that will translate in nearly every situation:
Unless you and your spouse cannot be in the same room as each other, present a united front when telling your child about your decision to divorce. Get on the same page as your spouse on messaging; it is best to stick to the facts and avoid bad mouthing anyone during the conversation.
2. Answer their questions and make it clear that you are there for them. Even if you meticulously go over every detail you think your child needs to know, he or she might still have questions. Be prepared to answer these inquiries in a straightforward and empathetic manner. Make it clear that your divorce is not their fault and that they can come to you at any time and ask you questions about what’s going on with your split.
3. Be attentive to signs your children might need professional help. No matter how stoic or emotionally balanced your child is, they will need time and space to adjust to your divorce. There will be tears and other signs that your child is experiencing intense emotions. However, if these behaviors continue for many weeks or interfere with normal functions of life, it might be time to seek therapy for your child.
4. Don’t forget about yourself. As a parent, you are used to being selfless and putting your child before yourself. This makes you a great parent, but it is also important to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally. If your child sees you struggling to cope with everything, that feeling could trickle down to them. On the other hand, finding healthy ways to cope with your emotions can also rub off on your child.
It’s important to get as much support and helpful advice as you can handle during your divorce — for yourself and for your child. The other piece of the puzzle is having a qualified and experienced attorney help fight for your interests during your divorce. The Divorce and Mediation Law Firm would be honored to serve as your counsel during this trying time for you. Please call us soon at (954)-447-2580 to receive a confidential consultation.