When you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, this decision may have come after careful deliberation and, in some cases, extensive marriage counseling. Each divorce is unique, and your breakup will undoubtedly impact your children in various ways. How your children respond may depend on their age, their personality, and the circumstances of the divorce. The initial reaction is often shock, anger, sadness, or fear. While dealing with these emotions can be difficult, there are ways you and your ex can help your children adjust during this major transition. As with anything in life, going through a divorce can be a learning experience for all involved parties. The coping mechanisms that your children learn for dealing with stress during your divorce may help them grow up to be more flexible, accepting adults.
Practical Steps for Moving On
Similar to how adults often need emotional support from friends, family members, or mental health professionals during a divorce, children also may require extra attention during this transitional phase. In some situations, children might think the divorce is their fault, and they may blame themselves for the breakup of the marriage. It is critical to make sure they understand the divorce is not a result of anything they did or did not do; it is something between you and your spouse.
Kids may also have a delayed reaction to the divorce. Stress can manifest itself in many ways, such as getting into trouble at school or fluctuation in appetite, sleep schedule, or behavior. They may “act out” and do things they normally would not do as a means of getting attention or rebelling against the idea of their family breaking up. It is imperative that you think about how your divorce will affect your children, rather than just thinking about yourself.
Below are some tips for helping your children cope during and after your divorce:
Encourage open communication and honesty.
Legitimize their feelings.
Make sure they know you love them.
Maintain consistency and routine.
Do not talk about the details of your divorce in front of the kids.
Seek professional help for your children from a counselor or therapist.
Regardless of the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, your children’s needs should always come first. When creating a parenting plan, it is important to work with your ex-spouse to reach a decision about how you can best meet your children’s needs rather than asking your children to choose between the two of you.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Divorce Attorney
A divorce may be a fresh start for you and your ex-spouse, but it can feel like the end of the world for your children. It will be a significant adjustment for them to not have their whole family living under the same roof. However, there are ways to mitigate the negative impact of your divorce on the kids. The Andrew Cores Family Law Group is dedicated to guiding you through the process of legally ending your marriage while protecting your children’s best interests. Call one of our compassionate DuPage County divorce lawyers at 630-871-1002 today to schedule a free consultation.