How to Protect your Child During a Divorce?
If you are going through a divorce from your spouse, it is common to worry how your children will react and how you as a parent can best support and protect them during this time. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your children from any pain and provide them with the best possible care. However, when dealing with unchartered territory such as a divorce, and the constant emotional battle you are having to handle yourself, it can become difficult to find ways to aid your children. Therefore, your Tallahassee Divorce Attorney has complied a list of tips you may want to implement with your children that have been found to be helpful during this difficult, emotional, and confusing time of transition.
Be Consistent. One of the main pieces of advice every therapist or psychologist will give to a couple divorcing who maintain common children together, is to be as consistent as possible. Children thrive in consistent environments. Therefore, it is encouraged not to change schools, or extracurricular activities that the child is involved in. Do not change your parenting styles, or methods of discipline. Keep a schedule or routine and document it on a calendar in a space for the child to see on a regular basis to remind them of the bedtime routines, what the dinner meal will be, when their soccer practice is, and when they will see their respective parents. Some children even may need to hear you verbalize it to them that although some things may be changing, you are committed to providing them with consistency. Attempt to be consistent in every aspect of their lives as it will be something they can fall back on when it feels as though their family dynamics are changing.
Encourage the relationship between your child and the other parent. Even if you do not wish to speak with your former spouse, it is critical for children to have both parents actively participating in their lives. Therefore, refrain from speaking ill about your spouse in front of or with your child. Instead, attempt to speak to the positive attributes of your former partner. Encourage the child to maintain frequent contact with them even during your designated time sharing. You do not want your child to feel abandoned by a parent, or build animosity towards a parent based upon your own negative relationship. Encourage them to have fun with their parent and do not make them feel guilty about leaving you to spend time with them or for loving their parent. The quality of a child parent relationship is key to productive and healthy development of a child.
Have conversations with your child. Many children are apprehensive to approach their parent about a divorce and the surrounding circumstances and emotions. Therefore, you will need to provide them with opportunities to discuss their worries with you in a safe environment. Be open to hearing their anger, frustration, fears, and all emotions they may be having. Attempt to simply listen instead of providing an answer for every item they bring to the table. Sometimes, children just need to be heard. However, you may want to reassure them that a divorce between their parents does not mean they are responsible. Provide them with the assurance that they are loved unconditionally by both of their parents and that you both will actively be a part of their life. Finally, leave the conversation open to follow ups. Ensure they know that you are available to talk to about anything at any time and this conversation is always one that can be had again.
Take care of yourself. The final piece of advice to any parent going through a divorce is to take proper measures to take care of yourself during this process. Failure to properly care for your own physical, or mental health can cause a ripple effect and eventually hinder your child. In some cases, children will feel the need to be your caretaker during this time when you are not taking care of yourself. However, this is not the dynamic that is healthy for any parent child relationship. By properly taking care of yourself, you are providing your child with a visual example of how they can be strong and heal through this process too.
During your divorce, if minor children are involved, remind yourself of the child’s best interest and their needs and you will be able to navigate the best way to care for and protect them during this difficult time. If other assistance is needed, speak with your Tallahassee Divorce Attorney to procure other options and tips on how to properly care for your child during this process.
Speaking to an attorney at our Tallahassee office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-307-5211 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.