Separations and divorces are rough for anybody who has ever had the experience. But as much as divorce impacts adults, it is so much worse for children. In fact, no matter a child’s age, divorce has permanent emotional effect during a critical period of their development. This is why parents must demonstrate that things will be all right through their words and their actions. Children fear that nothing will ever be the same. This means that it is critical to create a new sense of normal for our children. Some suggestions toward this end include:
- Maintain the child’s daily structure. This means if at all possible, to keep them in the same home, the same school, and in the same extra-curricular activities. Make sure that they have time with their friends.
- Maintain parental contact. No matter how generous a visitation schedule, children are ultimately loosing a significant amount of time with each parent. It is important to exercise all available visitation with your child.
- Do not make false promises to your child. Make sure that you keep your commitments to them. Prove to your children that they can rely on your word.
- Talk with your children. Do not let your separation and divorce pass unspoken. Your child is experiencing a trauma, which deserves to be acknowledged. There is no shame in seeking professional counseling to help you and your child.
- Do not ignore signs that your child is poorly coping with your divorce. Look for changes in personality, lashing out, self-harm, or social withdrawal.
- To the extent that you have continued contact with your former spouse, keep your focus on your roles as co-parents. This is going to be very difficult, but it is critical to empathize with your children.
- Do not fight in front of your children after your divorce. From your children’s perspective, the worst has already happened and their parents have broken up. The damage is done and your children need the chance to heal.
- Do not put your children in the middle of your conflicts with your former spouse. They are not information messengers and should not be burdened with that responsibility. Save your criticism of your former spouse for others. It does no good for you to disparage their other parent or to make them feel like they have to choose sides. This is an impossible choice.
Contact The Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas
Divorce and child custody disputes are emotionally challenging experiences. It is important to hire an attorney who can keep you focused on your legal rights and what is best for your children. I have been a family lawyer for over twenty years and take great pride in providing compassionate, yet firm legal guidance. Contact the Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas at 847-392-5893 to schedule an appointment or visit our website today.