Divorce is an incredibly stressful experience for all involved, especially children. It can be incredibly confusing and difficult to deal with for the kids involved and can affect them in a variety of ways, although kids can come out as better able to cope with stressful situations and can grow up to be more flexible and open-minded adults.
Some of the most important things parents can do when helping their children through divorce are:
- Keep visible conflict, heated discussions, and legal talk away from your kids
- Minimize the disruptions to your kids’ daily routines
- Confine negativity and blame to private therapy sessions or conversations with friends outside the home
- Keep each parent involved in your kids’ lives
While it is understandable for parents going through a divorce to seek support from the surrounding family and friends, you should not seek that support from your kids.
Helping Kids Cope
It is incredibly natural for some kids to hope that their parents will get back together – even if you have explained the finality of the divorce to them. Eventually, they will come to accept the new situation, but it does not hurt to help them adapt to everything. Here are some ways to help kids cope with the chaos of a divorce:
- Encourage honesty – Your kids should know that their feelings are important to you.
- Help them put their feelings into words – Be a good listener, even if it is difficult to hear.
- Legitimize their feelings and let kids know that whatever they are feeling is ok.
- Offer support and suggest a few things that might help, no matter how minor.
- Keep yourself healthy – The pressure surrounding a divorce can bring out the worst in people.
- Get help – Set a good example for your kids by making healthy adjustments to such a major change.
Parenting Under Pressure
As much as possible, both of you should keep normal routines and disciplines the same. Maintaining similar expectations for your kids will help reduce your children’s anxiety. Relaxing your limits can end up making kids insecure and less likely to recognize your authority later on. Additionally, replacing love by buying things or letting them act out can lead to difficulty reining them in later on. Make sure to lavish affection on them!
Work together with your former spouse to make the transition as smooth as possible and always make sure to keep your kids at the forefront of your mind when it comes to adapting.
Located in Whitby, Ontario, family law practice Lloyd & Kemper LLP recognizes that separation has not only legal but also emotional and financial consequences for our clients and their families. Our focus is to provide clients with the tools they need to separate with dignity, and feel empowered to make their own decisions. Our family lawyers specialize in family law, so you know we are well-equipped to help you arrive at the best outcomes possible. Get in touch by calling 905-493-6788.