Divorce is traumatic for the main couple. But it can be even worse for the children of the family. Divorce affects around 1.5 million children annually. As a parent, you should be focusing on protecting them as much as possible. While you can work with your divorce lawyer to gain custody, this is only one part of the equation. If you want your children to come out of your divorce as unharmed as possible, then you need to know what to do. Here are some things you should do to cushion the emotional blow of a divorce:
Break The News To Them
One reason for increased stress on your child is that they don’t know what is going on. One of the first things that you should do is to ensure they know what will happen. Once you and your partner decide on it, you should sit down and tell them what is happening. This gives you and your partner to clear things up so that the children understand that they are not at fault. Children can be very sensitive and think they are the reason for things happening. You should ensure that they know that they are not at fault.
Depending on their maturity level, you should explain to them that people change and that their parents are different individuals now. This means that they will have to live apart. The important thing is that you remind them that while their parents are breaking up, the bond between parent and child is much different. Besides the explanations, you should be telling them about the changes that might happen.
Minimize Conflict In Their Presence
Conflict is inevitable when it comes to divorce. Tempers can run high in emotionally-charged situations like this. But you should do your best to keep the conflict out of sight of your children. When children witness conflict between their parents, they immediately feel stressed. Constant exposure will also add to that. While it might not be easy, you should try your best to lower the conflict level.
You should also plan for the future. Most divorces have a certain level of conflict, even after all the legal proceedings are over. If you have to meet with your ex regularly and the emotions are still high, then you should work something out so that you would have fewer arguments with them. If you do have to argue, keep it outside of your child’s presence. You should also do your best to not involve them in any of your arguments.
Maintain A Solid Presence In Their Lives
Another important thing to note is that children need both parents in their child’s lives. While people can be great single parents, children still need to have the presence of both parents in their lives. They should not feel abandoned by one parent. This can take different forms. You can have shared custody where you can have the children shuttling between both parents.
You can also have one parent have full custody but with visitation rights. Ensure that you are always there so that the child knows that you are not rejecting them. You can make it even better by allowing them easy access to you. Give them a phone number or e-mail so that they can contact you when necessary.
But you have to be careful about your presence. If you and your partner share custody, the swapping between parents can be a stressful experience for your child. Try to be as accommodating as possible. Provide them with the support they need to adjust to the experience. While they can get familiar with the arrangement, it will take some time for them to do so.
Be Positive About Your Ex
While you might have negative emotions about your ex, you should never bad-mouth them in front of your child. They might feel like you are forcing them to choose between you and your ex. This is not the sort of decision that a child should make. Try your best always to present your ex to your child as positively as you can. As part of this, do not discuss the specifics of the divorce with your child until they are older. This ensures that there will be no blaming your partner or something similar to happen.
Divorce is hard enough for you. You should try your best to ensure that you can shield your child from its worst effects. Fortunately, if you do it right, children can thrive and grow up well after their parents’ divorce. Make a difference in their life by ensuring that this happens.