It’s been proven that the trauma of a divorce can have a lasting impact on a child’s psychological development. As common as divorce has become in the United States, the misery-loves-company attitude doesn’t help a child whose family is being torn apart. Though it should seem to go without saying that parents need to help their kids cope during this difficult and turbulent time, it’s very easy for adults to focus on their own emotions and the business side of divorce.
Here are some basic things you can do to help soften the blow of divorce in your home and on your children:
Be Honest You will get nowhere by talking to your child in a manner that’s above or below their maturity level. Be frank and honest about the process, while sparing them any ugly details regarding money problems, infidelity or other indiscretions. By talking to them in an age-appropriate way, you’re treating them with respect and candor and they will appreciate this. (Although, you may not know it at the time, depending on their reaction to the news.)
Early and Often Be straight with your child from the beginning and check in periodically to assess their feelings. In many cases, the ugliness of divorce evolves and your child may or may not hear things you would rather they didn’t hear. Even after the divorce is finalized, you need to check in with them regularly to ensure they’re doing OK. Many children tend to blame one parent or the other and, oftentimes, themselves, for their parents’ divorce. Asking them questions and allowing them to ask you questions will go a long way in taking away the mystery of who, why, what, etc.
Remember Your Ex-Spouse is Still Their Parent Though you may be compelled to trash your ex to everyone who will listen, your child doesn’t need to hear any of it. By poisoning your children against your ex, you’re only doing long-term damage to their mental health and potentially driving them away from you.
Divorces are messy, but one thing you can control is how your children manage to get through the process. Be sure to keep their feelings in mind.
If you’re on the verge of divorce, the attorneys at Graziano & Flynn can you represent your interests in court and help to facilitate a fair and equitable agreement between you and your spouse. Contact us today for a free consultation.