Helping Your Children in Divorce
Divorce is a stressful process for all involved. When the spouses share children, the process is also quite stressful for the parties’ children. The children have no control over the process, but are nevertheless impacted by it. This feeling of chaos and loss of control can be exceedingly emotionally difficult for children, whether they are toddlers or teenagers. There are some steps you can take to help your children with the process.
First, make sure that you are upfront, but gentle, with your children about what is happening and what to expect. Hiding the divorce or being less than truthful with your children about the finality of the situation will not help the child in the long run. Giving your child a nebulous understanding may result in him or her believing that you and your spouse may reunite in the future, which can be damaging.
Second, avoid the temptation to tell your child your feelings of anger or resentment about your spouse. You may be very upset with your spouse for being unfaithful, but the child does not need to know anything about the infidelity or your feelings about it. Blaming your spouse or calling him or her names in front of the children is counterproductive and will be detrimental to your child’s well-being.
Third, help your children know what to expect. They may be confused about where they will live and when they will see which parent. Making calendars that have color coded days for each parent can help make a visual aid so children know what to expect, which helps reinforce their sense of stability. For older children, if they have a cell phone, the calendar can be incorporated into their electronic device so he or she will always have the information.
Fourth, do not be afraid to seek professional help. There are many counselors and therapists available who specialize in processing the feelings surrounding divorce. You may decide to seek individual counseling for yourself or your children, or maybe seek family counseling for all of you together. Regardless of your choice, therapy can help everyone come to grips with the “new normal” and process unfamiliar and negative emotions.
Children need the help and support of their parents to make it through the divorce process. We many parents with this process relative to their children. If you have questions about your order, contact us today at (732) 529-6937. We will talk to you about your custody order and your child. Please also check out our for other FAQs about divorce topics like this one.