Divorce is hard enough, but when there are children involved, it can often lead to more challenges and difficult decisions. Children are very switched on and are going to be able to easily pick up on anything that is not right, which is why it is important to consider your children and their wellbeing when navigating your divorce proceedings. A divorce is going to be difficult for everyone involved, including your children.
Here are some top tips to help you look after your children, and make the process a little less painful for them.
Be honest with your children
As hard as it may be, honesty is the best way to move forward with your children. They can easily tell if something is wrong, and hiding it may only make things worse. Children also have the tendency to blame themselves when their parents get divorced, so if you feel it is appropriate, it may be a good idea to sit your children down and explain to them what is going on, and why it is happening. This can help relieve any pressure from the children, who may blame themselves, as well as you, so you don’t have anything to hide. When explaining it to your children, make sure you consider their age, maturity and understanding, as this may impact the way that you explain it to them.
Encourage them to share how they are feeling
A divorce is a huge act and will impact your children’s lives in many ways. Change does not always come with open arms, which is why it is important to not only keep your children informed but to also regularly check in with them to see how they are feeling. It might be hard for them to open up at first, perhaps it takes some time to process and express how they feel, but it is important as a parent to encourage openness and honesty, which often means starting with your own feelings. Don’t be afraid to ask them frequently how they are feeling. When they do open up, make sure you listen actively, and without judgement. When you are able to sit back and listen, children tend to open up even more. Let them know it is okay to be upset, sad, angry and confused, and seek additional support if you think it could be helpful for them.
Keep proceedings friendly
Although children may not be at all of the talks you and your ex-partner have about your divorce, it is important to keep it civil and friendly throughout the whole process. This will help the children relax, and reduce any confusion, or hard feelings. In order to do this, you may choose to set boundaries around communication and visits, keep routines with both parents as much as possible, avoid talking negatively about the other in front of your children, seek therapy and support for you and your children, and use family law arbitration to settle the divorce in a smoother, more effective way.
Divorce is hard, but there are many steps you can take to protect your children and their wellbeing.