Although nearly half of all children will bear witness to the divorce of their parents, kids often feel alone in their pain and unsure with how to cope with the range of difficult feelings that arise. Kids of divorce frequently experience immense feelings of sadness, despair and isolation upon learning about the divorce and dealing with the repercussions of the split union. Mixed feelings are common too, as kids may feel relief upon having a break from household conflict. The main stressors on children are the fear of the unknown, fear of abandonment and hostile conflict between both parents. As you approach your impending divorce, you can mitigate these stressors with the three following tips.
Allow Candid Q&A Sessions
The ability to ask questions about the upcoming family changes and receive honest answers can ease the fear of the unknown kids often feel during divorce. Although you do not need to go into the exact details of the separation and divorce, it is important to let kids ask questions about the situation and its effects on their lives. With the right support, kids are resilient enough to handle and process bad news.
Withholding potentially distressing information forces kids to come to their own conclusions about the cause of the divorce and the outcome for each member of the family. Throughout the divorce, give your children a chance to better understand the situation and grieve the loss of their established family unit and lifestyle. As with any loss, always offer reassurance and promote healthy coping skills to give your kids the best chance at quickly adjusting to the divorce.
Arrange Shared Custody
The fear of abandonment comes from kids worried about losing contact with the non-custodial parent. The fear is not unfounded either, as more than 1/4 of kids completely lose contact with their father within three years of the divorce date. With this lost contact with a parent, kids often lose their connection to that entire side of the family as well.
The best way to prevent this situation altogether is by attempting to arrange shared custody. A shared custody plan will split your children's time between both new households to provide them with the chance to maintain their parental bonds. The time does not have to be 100% equal to ease your kids' fears; they often just need to know that they will have time with both parents on a scheduled basis. Your attorney will look at both parties' proposed custody arrangements to help identify a suitable agreement that will benefit your children's wellbeing.
Keep Arguments Amicable
Arguments will undoubtedly come up while attempting to handle asset division, custody arrangements and other decisions associated with the divorce. Kids can benefit from seeing their parents argue, but the conflict must not be overtly hostile and needs to have an amicable resolution. When kids see their two main role models hashing out disagreements, they learn how to effectively argue their point and have confidence during conflicts.
Introducing hostility into the equation, however, potentially teaches kids to infuse their arguments with disrespect and anger. If you cannot argue amicably with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, only engage in heated topics during mediation meetings. At these meetings, your attorney will remain by your side to assist when emotions cloud your ability to reach a logical mutual agreement.
Working With Your Divorce Attorney
By utilizing the above tips to mitigate your children's main stressors, you provide them with the best chance at adjusting to the divorce quickly. Everyone often benefits in the long run when decisions are made with your children's happiness and wellbeing in mind. As you navigate the rough waters of your divorce, remember to reach out to your divorce attorney or visit websites like http://madisonlf.com for resources and guidance. Divorce attorneys can help you make smart decisions that will mitigate the effects on your children throughout the process of legally and permanently separating from your spouse.