Regardless of how resilient a child may seem, divorce is a devastating time for them at any age. Divorce is one area of family law that often impacts children the greatest. Children may blame themselves for the end of their parents’ marriage, or they may have feelings of anger that cause them to act out. It is easy for parents to get caught up in the battle over separation of property and overlook the impact that the divorce is having on their children. While the parents are working to dissolve their marriage, the children are experiencing an end to their family and the lifestyle that they have always known. Parents need to provide support to children of any age, to help them identify the emotions they are feeling and help them work through them.
Maintain a Stable Lifestyle
Children thrive in a stable environment where they always know what is coming next. Even though you may be living in a different place or they may have an entirely new routine, create a structured lifestyle that includes the same activities every day. Make it a point to be there to pick them up on time and enforce rules about doing homework at a specific time. That includes working with your ex-spouse to provide a familiar and relaxing environment that lets kids know you are both still there for them even if you are no longer living together.
Refrain from Saying Negative Things about Your Spouse
Your child has two parents, regardless of whether they are in a relationship together or living apart. They are going to love both parents and want to spend time with each. Limit what you say about the other parent to things that are positive. This isn’t your child’s battle, and you shouldn’t expect them to understand your feelings of anger or hurt. If you have nothing but hurtful things to say about your spouse, keep your comments to yourself.
Explain Your New Situation in Simple Terms
“We aren’t happy together anymore” or “we decided we want to live in different places” are as in-depth as you need to be when explaining to children the reason for your divorce. Do not put blame on the other spouse. Comments like “Daddy decided he doesn’t want us to be his family anymore” will only lead to doubt, confusion, and guilt when a child starts to think they are the reason for the divorce. Keeping it simple will shift the decision to you and your spouse, and make it a unified decision that has nothing to do with the child.
Be more specific about the changes the divorce will cause in your child’s life. Provide more information to older children, who will have a better understanding of what you are trying to say. Tell them where they will be living and where they will go to visit the other parent. Never mislead children by giving them false information to try to soften the blow. This will only make it harder for them when their new lifestyle plays out, and they will lose trust in you. In the end, children still need to know that they have two loving parents they can rely on, and that they aren’t to blame for your divorce. To learn more about getting a Las Vegas divorce attorney to guide you through a divorce, call McFarling Law Group at 702-565-4335.