Children and divorce go hand in hand in many cases. When parents make the tough decision to file for divorce, both spouses are greatly concerned about the impact the separation will have on their children. Unfortunately, even the best of intentions do not always pan out according to plan, especially when everyone involved suddenly must adjust to having their lives turned upside down. As each parent strikes out on his/her own, protecting the children’s well-being can get lost in the shuffle of financial matters, emotional turbulence, and general instability.
No parent wants to make the divorce process more difficult or confusing for their children, but mistakes and missteps can happen. Here are the key ways to make divorce easier on your children (and yourself!):
Don’t Make Your Children Messengers
It is far too common for children to get caught in the middle as both parents negotiate shared custody and visitation. It may seem easier to avoid speaking with your ex-spouse and simply having your son or daughter relay messages when you drop him or her off with the other parent. However, it places unnecessary stress on your child who should not be asked to handle such adult matters. Instead, speak with your ex over the phone or in person and keep your messages short and factual.
Maintain a Routine
Losing regular contact with each parent or moving between different homes can be very stressful for children. Try to limit the disruptions to his or her daily life as much as possible. This includes keeping him or her in the same school, involved with the same extracurricular activities, and spending time with their friends. A stable, familiar schedule and a support system of friends and family members can help make your child feel more secure.
Listen and Apologize
If you’ve said something in front of your son or daughter that you regret, or handled a situation with less grace than you would like, have a quiet conversation with your child and apologize for your actions. Listen to his or her feelings and offer an honest explanation. The divorce process can be a trying time for everyone involved, but taking the time to simply be there for your son or daughter will go a long way toward strengthening your bond of trust.
You Are Not Alone
Divorce is never easy, but the compassionate family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks can offer the careful guidance and strong representation you need to handle this difficult time. To learn how we can help you navigate the divorce process, please call (559) 222-4891 for a free, comprehensive case evaluation today.