4 ways to protect children during divorce
Divorce can be an extremely difficult time in one’s life, but when children are involved, it takes on a whole new meaning.
No one knows how divorce will impact individual children, but it will be felt in some capacity. Some studies show that children from divorced households are less likely to attend college and are twice as likely to be divorced during their lifetime. Others show that children from divorced households typically fare as well as other children throughout their lives, especially when the definition of family and related expectations have changed in recent years.
To protect your children and make the transition easier for them during this difficult time, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.
1. Talk to your children
Breaking the news of divorce to your children is never the easiest task, but keeping it from them can do more damage. Having a discussion to help them understand what the next few months will bring can prepare them for the change ahead.
While children don’t need to know everything about the process, answering their questions honestly and preparing them for any changes in routine is a good first step.
It is best to have this discussion as a family unit – talk to your spouse beforehand, come up with a game plan and sit down as a family to explain what is happening and what your children can expect.
2. Keep it friendly
Nothing can hurt a child worse than seeing their parents tear each other apart during a divorce. Litigation is difficult for both parties, especially when there are custody and monetary issues at stake.
Being mature during the process can be the first key to making sure your child is protected and doesn’t form resentful thoughts towards one party. Using the child as a bargaining chip in divorce settlements should never be a consideration.
Remember: you are going to have to work with your spouse for the rest of your life, making decisions about the children, attending events and more. If you can be cordial and cooperative (we are not saying you have to be friendly or happy) during your divorce, you will be setting the stage for a better future for all involved.
3. Encourage their feelings
Children are expressive beings, and a divorce can bring a lot of new feelings to the surface. It’s important to give your children an outlet for their emotions and courage them to talk about what’s going through their minds. Be open and ask them to express how they feel.
4. Keep a routine
While living arrangements and daily schedules may change during the course of a divorce, it’s important to establish a new routine and stick to it.
One of the worst things divorce or divorcing parents can do is create a tug of war with children. Support from both parents is crucial to make an easy transition to a different arrangement.
Over time, the shock of the divorce will lessen for all parties involved. Adults should have the maturity to cope with such a drastic change, but adjusting emotions and routines to make sure children have the same support should be a top priority.