Helping Your Children Handle the Changes During Divorce
Divorce is not easy for anyone. Everyone in the family is affected; parents and children. The family dynamic experiences great change and with this change comes a sense of loss and anxiety. Parents going through divorce know this and often ask how they can best help their kids work through their emotions during and after divorce. For those working to minimize the stress for their children, there are a number of helpful strategies.
5 Strategies to Help Children Deal with Stress and Anxiety Associated with Divorce:
1. Be Straightforward: Explain the divorce simply. If possible, both parents should discuss it with the children together.
2. Be Reassuring: Tell the children that they will always have both parents’ love and explain how the family dynamic will work after divorce. For instance, talk to them about spending every other weekend and Wednesday nights at their dad’s house and the rest of the time with their mom. Some children will gain a lot of comfort if a calendar of parenting time is posted so they can visually see that they will still have time with both of their parents.
3. Talk About Feelings: It may be tempting for many to assure children that it will be okay and urge them to move forward but talking about the emotions that they will naturally feel under the circumstances is important. Talk to them and tell them that feeling sad and angry is okay and perfectly normal. Let them know that that type of feeling is difficult to deal with alone and that they can talk to their parents about it and get help managing their feelings. Be sure to make it clear that feelings of sadness or anger are acceptable – and that any feeling they have is acceptable and they don’t need to hide them.
4. Clearly State It’s Not Their Fault: Kids can be fairly egocentric, and many assume that their behavior and thoughts cause any “bad” events that occur in their world. Due to this belief, it is usually helpful for parents to clearly state that the divorce is not their child’s fault; that the decision was made based on the relationship between the two adults.
5. Give Kids Notice: Make sure children have plenty of notice that one of their parents is moving out. If possible, attempt to let the children visit the new, “second” home and know where they will sleep when they visit. In many situations it can even be beneficial to encourage the child or children to help furnish the new home and bring over some of their own personal belongings in advance.
No one denies that divorce is hard on both those divorcing and their children. But it can drastically decrease the amount of negativity that falls on children if they are able to feel a continued love from both of their parents and benefit from both parents working to create a stable, calm environment moving forward.
If you are worried about how to manage parenting time after your divorce or if you need help putting together a parenting plan focusing on minimizing the stress on your children, please get in touch with one of the experienced California divorce attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm. We have the experience you need on your side.
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