Reduce the Impact of Divorce on Your Kids
Going through a divorce can be challenging for couples, but things can be even more difficult if you share children with your partner. Even if you feel confident that divorce is the right option. it’s important to find ways to reduce the impact of divorce on your kids. Whether they’re toddlers or teens, there’s no doubt that adjusting to a new way of life will have a practical and emotional effect on them.
Both parents can support and guide their children so that they can overcome the challenges that divorce brings and enjoy their new family life. To find out how you can reduce the impact of divorce on your kids, take a look at these top tips…
Don’t Delay Your Decision
Many couples try and stay together for the sake of their children, even when they no longer want to remain married to their partner. Sadly, this can often have disastrous consequences. If you and your spouse routinely argue or the atmosphere at home is toxic, for example, this will inevitably have a negative impact on your children.
In contrast, a divorce that’s well-handled by both parties exposes your kids to fewer arguments and disagreements and means that you’ll harbor less resentment towards your spouse. While it can take time to decide whether a marriage really is over, don’t let anger, frustration, or jealousy spill over into day-to-day family life. Instead, show your children how the breakdown of a relationship can be handled with compassion, civility, and kindness.
Have a Short-Term Plan
When you tell your kids that you’re getting a divorce, expect them to have a lot of questions about the practical aspects of the situation. They may ask who they’ll live with, where their non-resident parent will live, how often they can see, if they’ll have to move to a new home or change schools, for example.
Of course, you probably won’t be able to answer all of their questions just yet. After all, a divorce can take a long time to be concluded. However, having a short-term plan will enable you to provide them with some information and alleviate their worries. With the goal always being to reduce the impact of divorce on your kids.
If you or your partner will be moving out of the family home, for example, try to figure out where you’ll be living before you tell your kids that you’re getting a divorce. Similarly, decide how frequently they’ll be able to spend time with each parent while custody discussions are on-going. By doing so, you’ll feel more confident when talking to your kids about the upcoming divorce and there will be less confusion on their side.
Know Your Rights
No matter how amicable your separation is, it’s vital to know what your legal rights before you begin the divorce process. When you talk to a family law expert, you can find out how the divorce procedure works, how your finances should be split, and how to come to an agreement regarding the custody of your children. Although these matters can be decided by a court, you may find that you and your spouse are able to come to a voluntary agreement once you know what your rights are.
Actually ending a marriage via divorce isn’t particularly difficult but other aspects of the situation can be harder to resolve. If both parents would like to have full custody, for example, it might take some negotiation before an agreement can be reached. Alternatively, it could end in a lengthy court battle if neither parent is willing to negotiate. Before you can decide how to approach these issues, however, you’ll need to know exactly what the law says, which is why getting legal advice is so important.
Spend Time Together as a Family
When couples divorce, kids often end up spending their time with either their mom or their dad. Understandably, spouses may find it difficult to be in the same room as one another if they’re going through a messy breakup or an acrimonious divorce.
If you’re able to put your feelings to one side and spend time together as a family, however, this can be a great way to show your kids that you and your partner are still a united front. Even when parents get divorced, their children’s welfare is always the top priority, so remaining on speaking terms is beneficial for everyone.
If you’re all going to remain in the family home while the details of your separation are finalized, it’s particularly important that you’re able to get on with your soon-to-be ex-partner. Arguments, stony silences, and passive-aggressive comments won’t go unnoticed and can have a negative impact on your child’s well-being, so be sure to bear this in mind.
To help your kids feel more settled as their lives change, try and continue taking part in family-based activities, such as days out or school events. This will ensure that your kids feel comfortable spending time with both parents at the same time and don’t experience any unnecessary awkwardness.
Maintain a Routine
Children respond well to routines and any sudden changes to their day-to-day lives can increase the impact your divorce has on them. By still doing the school run, watching them play sports, and inviting their friends over, for example, you can ensure that their lives continue as normal, despite the fact their parents are getting divorced.
As well as providing them with a sense of normalcy, these regular activities can also be a welcome distraction for kids. Similarly, spending time with their peers will give them an outlet and enable them to talk to someone else about what’s happening at home. If your kid has friends whose parents are divorced, for example, they might feel reassured by seeing how well their family copes with parents who are separated.
Be Available to Talk
After telling your children that you’re going to get a divorce, be around to answer any questions they may have. And give them the opportunity to process things in their own time. Over the coming days, weeks, or months, however, they might have a number of questions or concerns. You can encourage your kids to open up to you about any worries they may have by simply being available.
Internalizing fears or concerns can lead to anxiety and low mood, so it’s important that your kids have someone to talk to. Your child might be reluctant to talk to you. But they need to have someone to confide in. This might be a grandparent, aunt, uncle, family friend, teacher, or a therapist. Whoever they feel able to talk to, encourage them to speak freely and openly.
Dealing with a Divorce When you Have Kids
If you want to minimize the impact a divorce has on your kids, it’s vital to put their interests first. You’re going to share children for the rest of your lives. So focus on the long-term, rather than any temporary anger or frustration you might be feeling.
When it comes to financial settlements and custody of your kids, a collaborative approach is often far less disruptive than a court battle. If you can mediate with your ex-partner and make joint decisions that are in your children’s best interests, for example, you can handle your divorce more swiftly and amicable.
Although divorce can be devastating for everyone involved, it needn’t have a long-term negative impact on your kids.