When the two most influential people in a child’s life decide to split up, it can be devastating. Yet this is what happens to millions of children every year. While most children have seen other people’s parents divorce, it still comes as a shock when it happens to them.
As a parent, how you handle your divorce can have a significant effect on how your children cope. These are some tips to make divorce easier on your children:
- Spare them the details: As a parent, you may spend a lot of time alone with your kids, before, during and after your divorce. It can feel natural to chat with them about your personal life. Yet you need to remember they are still children, and your spouse is still their parent. Consider what information you share with a child. Do they need to know the details of their mom’s affair? Or how little money their father is trying to pay in a divorce settlement? Certain things are best discussed with other adults, not your children.
- Be respectful when talking about the other parent: Resorting to petty comments about your spouse does not set a good example and will hurt your child. Think about the times that someone has insulted a person important to you and how uncomfortable it felt.
- Communicate: You need to communicate well with the other parent during and after your divorce, for matters relating to your children. Also, allocate time to talk with and listen to your children. Remember, your divorce will bring significant changes to the life of your child. Regular conversations are the best way to gauge how your child is coping. While some children will tell you outright, not all know how to express their feelings, and it may require persistence on your part.
If divorcing, one of the most critical choices a parent can make is the attorney they use. A lawyer who is compassionate to the needs of children can help you achieve a divorce without damaging your family.