As parents, our number one priority is always going to be our children. So when it comes to something as difficult as a divorce, it’s natural to want to do everything we can to protect them.
But the truth is, the best way to help your kids through the divorce process is to focus on taking care of yourself first.
By staying calm and keeping communication open with your children, you can help them get through this tough time in their lives. Here are some tips on how to help your kids through the divorce process:
Hire a lawyer that will make your kids a priority
If you are going through a divorce, the best thing you can do to help your children is to find an attorney who will make them a priority.
As the team from NYC Family Law Attorneys explains, look for lawyers who have experience with sensitive family issues involving children, such as divorce and custody cases.
Ask if they understand the importance of working with both parents to create resolutions that are in the best interest of the children. Choose an attorney who has developed positive relationships with trusted psychologists and counselors to help guide kids through this difficult time.
Ultimately, when selecting a lawyer to represent you and your children, go with someone whose legal expertise and compassionate approach makes them the obvious choice.
Talk to your children about what is happening and why
Explaining divorce to children can be emotionally taxing, but it’s also a necessary part of the process. Take a moment to prepare not only what you will say, but also how you want to say it. Consider conveying understanding and reassurance, while keeping in mind that age-appropriate terminology is essential—it’s important for your child to understand what is going on without burdening them with more than they can handle. Talking openly and honestly about the situation is the best way to ensure your child feels developed and cared for throughout the events of your divorce.
Reassure them that they are not responsible for the divorce
As you help your children navigate through the divorce process, a key piece of information to share with them is that they are not responsible for the split.
Although it can feel difficult or awkward to talk about their feelings when discussing the divorce, it’s important that you let your kids know that their mom and dad’s decision to break up had nothing to do with anything that happened in the family dynamic.
As parents, we all want what’s best for our kids and sometimes making a change is necessary in order to provide that. Reassuring your children on this matter will give them comfort and peace of mind during this difficult transition.
Let them know that both parents still love them
Divorce can be an incredibly difficult and confusing experience for children, which is why it’s so important to ensure that your children know that the separation does not change how much their parents love them.
During the divorce process, make sure to spend time with your children and reiterate how much they are valued. The reassurances of both parents’ love during this difﬁcult time can help give them some comfort as they navigate this new familial dynamic.
It can also be a good idea to seek out therapy or counseling if possible, especially when your kids begin to feel overwhelmed by the changes in their life. In the end, remember that above all, your unconditional love will stay constant throughout and after the divorce—and that’s what matters most of all.
Explain that there will be some changes, but try to keep as much stability as possible
Another important tip is to try to keep as much stability as possible. Even though there are likely to be new living arrangements and changes that come with the divorce, it’s important to help your children feel a sense of security.
Explain to them the changes that will be taking place in ways they can understand and let them know that you’ll support them through it.
Reassure them that even if things are different, some aspects of their life will remain consistent like school, home and family routines, friends and activities. Doing this will help your children cope more effectively with the transition of divorce.
Encourage them to express their feelings and listen to them without judgment
One of the most important things you can do to help your children through a divorce is to encourage them to express their feelings about the situation and make sure that you are listening to them without judgment. Children are often overwhelmed with emotion during a divorce and it can be difficult for them to understand what is happening. As a parent, it is important that you maintain an open dialogue with them in order for them to feel understood and supported as they process their emotions. Giving your children space to express themselves in an environment free from ridicule or criticism will create a strong foundation for a trusting parent-child relationship.
Seek professional help if you feel like you or your children are struggling to cope
Finally, seeking professional help can be an enormous asset during the divorce process, especially if you or your children feel like you are struggling to cope.
This assistance could take on many forms: you may find that a licensed therapist offers the best way to talk openly about your feelings, in an environment where judgment is off the table.
Or maybe a life coach or support group works better for you and your children — with professionals who understand entirely what you’re going through. There is never any shame that comes with feeling overwhelmed by the hardship of divorce; make sure both your physical and mental health is taken care of as best as possible.
Divorce can be an incredibly difficult and confusing experience for children, but with the right approach, it is possible to minimize any negative impact.
By reassuring your child of both parents’ love regardless of their separation, keeping as much stability in their life as possible and allowing them a safe space to express themselves without judgment or criticism, you can help make this transition easier for everyone involved.
Additionally, don’t forget that professional help may also be necessary if either you or your children are struggling emotionally— so never hesitate to seek out assistance when needed.
Above all else though, remember that unconditional love will remain constant throughout and after the divorce – no matter how tough things get along the way.