Going through a divorce is never easy. Going through a divorce with children is especially difficult. It is important to understand and realize that not only are you experiencing the dissolution of marriage, but so are the children. Parents need to be in tune with how the children are coping with the breakup of their parents. Children are especially vulnerable, as they may not have the emotional maturity to understand why their parents are getting divorced and how the new family dynamic will affect them.
If you notice that your child is having difficulties, it is important to seek outside help. Fortunately, there are resources available to parents to help children navigate the breakup of the family unit. Schools are a great starting place. Most schools have guidance counselors and psychologists who are experienced in working with children of divorcing of divorced parents. At a parent’s request, the guidance counselor and/or psychologist will meet with your child to help them cope with the difficulties they are facing. Other community resources are private therapists or your own church or synagogue.
- When going through a divorce, the following guidelines can make all the difference in how the impact of the divorce affects your child.
- Never criticize the other parent in front of your child. Your child is a product of both of you. Negative comments may affect not only how a child sees the parent being spoken about, but also themselves, as well as you.
- Listen to your child. Allow them the space and opportunity to express how they feel about the divorce. You may not always agree with how they feel, but they are entitled to have those feelings.
- Try to come to an agreement with your spouse on how to, when necessary, discuss the issues associated with the divorce with your child.
- Never discuss with the child the disagreements you’re having with the other parent.
- Always assure the child that both parents love them. It is important to stress that the divorce is not their fault.
- Do not put the child in a position to have to choose one parent over the other.
- Encourage the child to continue to have a loving relationship with the other parent.
- Do not use the child to convey information between you and the other parent.
- Do not use your child as a spy to obtain information about the other parent.
Following these simple guidelines can make all the difference in limiting the impact of the divorce on your child. It is easy to get caught up in the emotional upheaval of a divorce, but it is important always to remember that your child is also going through the divorce.
Going through a divorce alone is not easy. Having an experienced attorney on your side will make your divorce process less stressful. Contact Owens & Perkins for a free ½ hour divorce consultation at (480) 630-2464.