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10 Ways Parents Can Help their Children in a Divorce

Naperville Divorce Attorney

10 Ways Parents Can Help their Children in a Divorce, lake county divorce attorneys, family law, children and divorceWhen a couple with children divorces, every member of the family feels the effects of the divorce. There are also additional issues to determine regarding the children, such as their parenting time schedule, how the parents' parental duties will be divided, and the determination of an appropriate child support amount. All of these issues fall under the umbrella of family law.

Be Emotionally Available to your Children

Your children will have a lot of emotions about your divorce, some of which will be obvious and others that might not be apparent. Be emotionally available to your children and remind them that it is healthy to express themselves. Encourage them to talk to you about their feelings or convey them in constructive ways, like journaling.

Explain your Divorce in an Age-appropriate Way

A child's age has a significant impact on his or her understanding of divorce. Young children understand the world in black and white terms, and because of this, attempting to discuss the nuances of your divorce and life afterward will only confuse and upset them. Psychology Today suggests talking about key facts and recommends to discuss how your life will change in a clear, sequential way.

Older children and teens can handle more complex explanations and in many cases, may require them. Talk with your spouse first about how you will approach the subject of your divorce with your older children. Do not discuss it in a way that assigns blame, but do provide answers that are detailed enough to satisfy their questions.

Considering Holding off on Dating Until the Divorce is Finalized

It might be in your best interest to avoid dating until the divorce is finalized. If you choose to date, it is important to wait until the relationship is serious to introduce your new partner to your children.

Support your Former Spouse's Parenting Decisions

It is healthiest for your child to continue to have a consistent, positive relationship with both parents. Encourage this by supporting parenting decisions your former spouse makes, rather than attempting to be "better" than him or her. Even if you do not necessarily agree with a parenting decision, unless it poses a danger to your child's health or safety, support and comply with it. Undermining your former spouse will only cause resentment and make it more difficult for you to co-parent in the future.

Do Not Speak Badly of your Spouse or the Divorce

Going along with the point above, do not speak disparagingly of your former spouse, the divorce, or your former spouse's new partner to your children. Speaking adversely about any of them can create a dynamic of negativity, resentment, and secrets between your children, yourself, and your former partner.

Anticipate your Child's Needs

Your child might not express it to you, but he or she might need to take the season off from Little League or spend a few sessions with a counselor to work through the emotional aspects of your divorce. Be aware of the signs that your child needs emotional or academic intervention, such as:

  • Withdrawal;
  • Sudden personality changes;
  • Sudden changes in physical health;
  • Acting out; and
  • Changes in academic performance.

Keep Adult Discussions Between Adults

You will likely have disagreements with your former spouse. Keep these disagreements out of earshot of your children. You will also have discussions about your divorce with your attorney, third party professionals, and your close friends and relatives. Again, your children should not be part of these discussions.

Maintain your Child's Normal Routine

Maintaining your child's normal routine is key to minimizing the disruption your divorce brings to his or her life. Make time to bring him or her to his or her activities and help him or her with homework.

After the divorce is finalized, consider creating new routines or traditions for when your children are with you. Consider starting a new hobby with your child or designating Fridays as pizza and movie night.

Make Time for your Children

In addition to maintaining your child's normal routine, carve some time out of your busy schedule to spend with him or her one-on-one. Take a few hours on a weekend to go to a park, play a game, or see a movie together.

Assure your Child that the Divorce is Not His or Her Fault

Above all, always make it a point to assure your child that the divorce is not his or her fault. Although this fact is obvious to you, your child has a much different perspective on your divorce and can develop harmful ideas and conclusions about the situation if you do not actively discuss it with him or her.

Work with an Experienced DuPage County Family Law Firm

If you are a parent currently going through the divorce process or considering filing for divorce in the near future, speak with an experienced DuPage County family lawyer about ways you can make the process easier for your child. To get started, schedule your initial consultation with a member of our team at Pesce Law Group, P.C.

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