Keeping Your Children First
While divorce is difficult for anyone who has to go through it, perhaps no one takes a divorce as harshly as children do. They may feel as if their family is breaking up because of something they did, and because of this belief, they may have a very difficult time trying to move forward with this big change in their lives.
It’s more important than ever to make sure that you provide your children with care and attention during a difficult divorce. Here are ways you can make sure you are giving your children what they need.
Ensure They Know They Are Not At Fault
Perhaps the most difficult fact you can convince your children of during a divorce is that they are not at fault for what is happening. It’s unfortunately very common for children to feel as if they did something wrong that contributed to their parents’ divorce when in reality the divorce has nothing to do with them. Children have a difficult time understanding that their parents are only getting divorced from each other, not from them.
It’s crucial early on in the divorce and even at times throughout the process that you spend time ensuring that your children know that nothing they have ever done is the cause for your divorce. While it might be challenging for them to fully understand, this type of constant reassurance can go a long way in helping them cope with the divorce.
Be Patient With Difficult Questions
When you tell your children about the divorce or even at times throughout the process or after the divorce is finalized, your children may have many questions about what their life will look like. Your children may be feeling insecure about having one parent leave the household, so questions may range from “Where will I live?” to “Will I still have my friends at school?”
Children ask a lot of questions, and some of them may be very difficult to answer. However, you should do your best to not only answer those questions but to do so with patience. Keeping an eye on your tone when answering their questions and choosing your words carefully can really help your children as they adjust to the changes.
Keep an Eye Out for Signs of Struggling
Despite your best intentions and plans of caring for your children, there may be times when they may struggle with all that is going on around them. They may verbalize their challenges, but more often than not they may start exhibiting unusual behaviors that signal there is a deeper issue at hand.
For example, you might notice that your child who is usually a perfect student in school starts acting out or their grades start slipping. While it may seem as if they no longer care about their studies, they may be so focused on trying to cope with the divorce that they fail to maintain regular study habits.
Other signs range from extreme sadness and depression to physical symptoms such as headaches and tiredness. It’s important to pay attention to something that might signify that a conversation needs to be held.
Maintain a Level of Consistency
Children benefit when they have some sort of routine in their lives, even if that routine is as simple as brushing their teeth before going to bed. When a divorce happens, a lot of the consistency that they have come to know and appreciate gets disrupted, throwing off their routines and causing harm to their wellbeing.
Though their other parent is living separately after the divorce, you can still provide your children with new routines to get back on track. For example, if you and your spouse will be co-parenting, you can plan on pickups and drop-offs that become a regular part of your children’s routine, giving them a new sense of normalcy.
This does not mean that all old traditions are thrown out. You and your children can still do things you used to do prior to the divorce, and, in fact, engaging in former activities can help your children, too.
Put Them First
Above all else, make sure to keep your children’s best interests at the heart of everything you do. Remember that they may have a more challenging time recovering from the divorce and going through the process, so it’s important to remember that their needs must be met.
Do You Have Questions About Divorce?
As many questions as your children may have about divorce, you also might need answers before getting started. Consider speaking with an attorney to get your questions answered and to receive guidance on how to move forward. At Schweitzer Law Partners, while divorce is a big and difficult decision, our team is committed to helping you move through each step of the way on the road to your new future.
To schedule a consultation with a member of our Pasadena law team, call us at (626) 788-5225 or visit us online.