Most children expect their parents to be in love forever. They want their family intact. Sadly, this isn’t always in line with reality. Sometimes, as couples grow in their personal and professional lives, separation can be inevitable. People grow apart and that is a sad reality.
It is helpful for your kids to understand that they are not to blame for the decision to separate or file for a divorce. It helps them accept the decision and find ways to cope and move forward.
Divorce affects children’s lives
Kids are more resilient than you think. Each child deals with stressful situations differently, depending on factors including their age and mental and social maturity. It is important to recognize the signs that your divorce is affecting your children. This will give you the opportunity to help them accordingly.
- They become quiet and shy
- A decrease in academic performance
- Ostracizing themselves from fun
- They drop out of extracurricular activities
- Depression, anxiety, post traumatic-stress disorder, etc.
How can parents help guide their kids through a divorce?
While the process of getting a divorce is already stressful on its own, having your kids act out because they don’t know what’s going on can make things even tougher. It is important for both parents to keep a positive attitude and tailor the information you give your children in a way that’s age-appropriate.
Some things parents can do are:
- Parents should be on the same page with their responses, as differences in answers may increase uneasiness in kids
- Discuss that this is an adult decision
- Stress that the kids are not to blame
- Explain how you plan to stay, support and be a part of their lives
- Explain if they’ll be staying or moving to new schools and how important it is to focus on academics and keeping their friends
- If your kids have friends with divorced parents, maybe set more play dates with those friends to build a familiar environment and support group
- Don’t talk bad about the other parent, as this has a major effect on how your child views you and your spouse
- If your kids are old enough, explain any major financial changes that may affect their current lifestyles
- Offer your kids to speak with a licensed therapist to help them through the process and to ask questions they may not feel comfortable asking you
Divorce is a stressful time for both parents and children. It is important for parents to try to not disrupt their children’s lives whenever possible. This means keeping up with the same friends, extracurricular activities or any other routine they may currently follow.
If you have questions about your children’s well-being during a divorce, consult with an experienced New York family and matrimonial lawyer to help pave the way for your happily ever after.