Better Care for Your Children in Difficult Circumstances
Children can have a rather difficult time with divorce. The family they’ve grown up with is now dissolving before their eyes, and while they may maintain a relationship with both of their parents, things will not be the same for them. They may have many challenges when trying to process how they are feeling.
Fortunately, parents can step in and help their children throughout the healing process. Here are ways you as a parent can help your child process your divorce.
Avoid Discussing Legal Proceedings
As an initial matter, it is almost always best to avoid discussing the legal proceedings with your minor children. This does not mean that they should be left in the dark about the changes that are happening. However, sharing the specifics of the factual allegations, positions asserted, or requests being made of the court is generally a negative experience for young children.
Validate Their Feelings
Children might have a hard time understanding that what they’re feeling is natural to feel. One step you can take to help your child move forward with your divorce is to validate that what they are feeling is okay. Children should believe that it’s okay for their voices to be heard and listened to. They will adjust to the changes occurring in their lives, and they should know that it’s okay to feel frustrated or uncertain about the future.
Reassure Them Often
At the same time, it’s important for parents to reassure their children that everything will eventually be okay and that the sadness and frustrations will pass as time goes on. You should also ensure that your children know and believe that your divorce is not their fault in any way. While it might get repetitive at times, children need constant reassurance when things like this happen.
Know You Don’t Have to Have All the Answers
Children can ask difficult questions when facing their parents’ divorce; they may wonder what the reason for the end of the marriage was or other similar questions. Some questions may be very hard to answer, and others you simply might not know the answer to. Know that it is totally okay to not have all the answers; children often aren’t looking for answers and merely want to know that their parent is listening to them.
While many things are changing as a result of your divorce, there remains the opportunity to provide your children with the level of stability that they need. Certain routines may still be present in their lives, such as driving them to and from school or certain afterschool activities that they engage in; allow them to maintain these schedules so that they have some stability during a season of change. In addition, if circumstances warrant a change in their schedules, work to enable that new schedule some stability.
Meet Their Needs and Yours
Your children are going to have needs ranging from their everyday physical necessities to needs that might be unique to divorce, such as additional emotional support. Work to meet their needs while not forsaking your own. Your needs are important, as well, and you should work to take care of yourself while meeting the needs of your children.
Seek Outside Help
There is nothing wrong with asking for help at any time. If you feel that your children might benefit from having outside help, consider working with a counselor or therapist to help them work through their feelings so that they can move forward. That outside support might be exactly what they need to process your divorce and resume their lives without fear of the future. If the other parent does not agree to have your children participate in these services, you might be able to obtain court orders for their enrollment in them.
Asking Questions of an Attorney
If you have questions related to child custody or similar issues, know that you should get those questions answered by an attorney who understands child custody laws and can provide you with the guidance you need to move forward. At TRABOLSI | LEVY | GABBARD LLP, we know how difficult divorce can be on you and your children; we will do everything we can to ensure that you come out on the other side feeling empowered to take control of your next chapter of life.
To learn more or to schedule a consultation, call us at (310) 455-8364 or visit us online.