As attorneys working with divorce, we know it is often one of the most challenging, difficult situations people experience in life. Along with emotional distress throughout, the divorce process can be a long drain on your time, money, and energy. We pride ourselves on being a supportive, caring firm committed to resolving your case with your best interests in mind while minimizing your stress and pain.
There are many factors in every divorce, but the process becomes significantly more complex when children are involved. No matter their age, it's commonly expected for children to experience frustration, confusion, sadness, and anger. While there will be a long list of things to be worked through, the way you help your kids cope throughout the process and after is one of the most important things you can do.
No matter where you are at in your divorce timeline, here are six ways to help your kids cope.
Make It Clear They Are Loved. This responsibility falls on both parents- your children need to know your love for them hasn't changed. The last thing you want is for them to feel like they are remotely to blame. If they feel at all that one or both parents love for them has changed, long term damage to self-esteem can be vast.
Don't Fight in Front of Your Kids. This will help with the first tip by not creating uncertainty regarding the divorce. No matter the circumstance, being able to represent a unified front will help children better understand that both parents will still support them.
Share Appropriate Information. How you explain the rationale, process, and fallout of your divorce will depend on the age of your children. Communicate clearly and honestly on matters that relate directly to them such as living situations, care arrangements, and division of time. Avoid discussions around heated or contested topics surrounding the divorce, and keep legal proceedings amongst the adults.
Provide Stability and Support. Along with openly demonstrating continued love from both parents, it is a two person job to help kids maintain a sense of routine and stability. You will need to work together to ensure that, in every applicable sense, your child's daily routine can remain consistent. This also applies to how both parents enforce and observe rules, discipline, and rewards.
Respect the Parent-Child Relationships. Avoid the temptation to put kids in the middle between parents. Don't speak badly about the other parent, use children as messengers, or create scenarios where they must choose a side. Your personal relationship with your children isn't a piece of leverage, nor a way to source information about the other parent.
Know When to Seek Help. Even with the best care and effort, there may still be a time you need to seek professional help with your child. You know your kids better than anybody, so keep an eye out for red flag changes in behavior. Major shifts in personality or attitude, sleep problems, trouble at school, drug or alcohol abuse, or self-destructive behavior can all be signs of deeper issues that may need professional treatment.
If you are considering a divorce or have already been served papers, you will certainly want to start thinking about these tips and more as your kids are involved. We have extensive experience in divorce proceedings and a commitment to compassionate service. Call us today at (616) 920-6565 or click here for more contact information to learn more about how we can help you and your kids through a divorce.