If you have children, it is vital to consider their emotional well-being while you are going through the divorce process. Divorce can be messy, stressful and hard, which is why it is important to insulate your children from the potential pain this process can bring. Miller Law Group, P.C., has compiled a list of 10 tips you can use to help protect your children during the divorce process.
1. Prioritize Your Children
Throughout the entire divorce process, make sure your children are your main concern. This can be a traumatizing time for them, even if they don’t show it, so make sure they know that you love them and that they realize you will put them first. Every decision made during the divorce process should take into consideration how it will affect the children.
2. Communicate That the Divorce is NOT Your Child’s Fault
Although many parents assume their children know the divorce is not their fault, it is important to remember that children need constant reminders. They can internalize feelings of guilt and remorse during the divorce, even placing the blame on themselves. That is why it is important that you communicate with them constantly and reassure them that your decision to divorce has nothing to do with them.
3. Try Collaborative Divorce Instead of Litigation
If possible, choose the collaborative divorce route over litigation. Commencing a divorce with mutual respect and amicable goals is often healthier than litigation, especially when children are involved. If a contested divorce can be avoided, the collaborative option can help you resolve your divorce without involving your children in the often-contentious and emotionally draining court process.
4. Shield Your Children from the Drama
Don’t trap your children in the middle of your divorce. What does this look like? Some examples include slandering your ex in front of your children or letting your feelings of disapproval toward your ex show in your interactions with your children. You have the potential to make a stressful time even more difficult if you allow your children to witness the animosity between you and your spouse. Instead, be calm and respectful so that your children do not experience parental alienation syndrome.
5. Consider Therapy
Divorce is a time of major changes and adjustment. It might be a good idea to visit a therapist with your child. A professional can help your children communicate their thoughts and feelings about the divorce without feeling as if they are taking sides. Therapy can also help you work through your own anger, frustration and pain.
6. Exhibit Maturity and Calm
During the divorce process, it is important to remember that you are the adult, the parent to your children. Divorce can be frustrating and painful, but be calm and mature in front of your children. They are already going through a big change; avoid adding to their stress by bad-mouthing their other parent. Be tactful and aware of what you say and do in front of your children.
7. Take Good Care of Yourself
Amid the stress and emotion of the divorce process, take good care of yourself so your children do not become worried. Your children need to see you are doing okay for the sake of their own emotional stability. Spend time doing things you enjoy, things that will help you unwind and relax. You need to be healthy to act as a strong support system to your children.
8. Present a United Front When First Introducing Divorce
When you know divorce is imminent, make sure both parents are there to tell your children about the separation. Present the divorce calmly and mutually, so your children don’t become divided. They will likely be confused and upset, but if you and your spouse work together, you can help alleviate the blow of such heavy news.
9. Be There for Your Child
Regardless of what is going on between you and your spouse during the divorce process, make sure that you are always there for your children. This can be as simple as taking them out when promised or letting them vent, cry and talk. Your children should know that they can count on you. Avoid speaking negatively about your spouse or speaking with your children solely to find out details about their other parent. Instead, make your children’s physical and emotional wellbeing your top priority.
10. Keep Consistency and Stability for Your Children
This can be a very stressful period for all parties involved. During this time of change, try to keep things as stable as possible. You want to try to ease your children into a new reality of having two homes. Keep routines and rules so your children don’t feel jarred by the changes. You will also want to avoid inviting new boyfriends or girlfriends around your children, at least not in the beginning. The majority of your time should be spent with your children, focusing on maintaining the stability they need during a volatile time.
At Miller Law Group, P.C., we know going through a divorce is an extremely difficult time for everyone involved. Contact one of our Massachusetts divorce attorneys to help you and your children survive the turmoil of divorce. Call us for a free consultation today.