Divorce is a painful and turbulent time for the spouses. When children are involved, they suffer just as much from the uncertainty and instability. All parents just want the best for their children and it is important for both parents to help their children understand and process the changes brought on by divorce.
Keeping conflict out of sight of your children is vital. Even if you and your spouse are experiencing high levels of anger and bitterness, try to keep squabbles to a minimum in front of the children. This also includes talk of any legal proceedings. Discussions about a trial, child support, alimony, and other issues are best conducted when the children are not present. Moreover, it is essential that neither parent speak badly about the other in front of the children. You may be very hurt and feel anger toward the other parent, but sharing the feelings of betrayal, anger, and uncertainty with your children will not benefit you or them.
It is also important to help your child process his or her emotions. Have open talks with your child about his or her feelings. Let them know that it is okay to be sad or confused, and remind them that they are loved, even though the marriage is at an end. It may be helpful to attend family counseling to help your child work through any feelings of instability or fear.
If you and your spouse are already separated, consistency between the two households is key. Consistent rules are ideal, but even if both parents have different parenting styles, it is important for there to be communication about the children’s habits and routines to ensure a smooth parenting transition between homes. his will obviously require a high degree of communication between you and your spouse, which can be difficult, but attempt to focus on the end goal – helping your child cope with this transition.
Calendars and similar visual aids can also help children feel secure. Making a color coded calendar that shows your child which days she will be spending at which house can help him or her know what to expect from day to day. Just having the simple knowledge of which house he or she will be sleeping in or who will be picking her up from school can really increase a child’s feeling of certainty and stability.
We have helped many clients through a divorce involving child custody. We can talk with you about how to navigate the process while maintaining as much stability as possible for your children. Contact us today at (732) 479-4711 for a consultation to discuss your child custody issues.