It is normal for children to experience a lot of feelings after their parents file for a divorce or separation. In fact, the feelings that your children are going through are just part of the healing process. However, that does not make it any easier to watch them have a hard time. It can be difficult to know what to do to help your children adjust, but there are simple ways that you can provide them with the necessary support.
Process With Them
One of the best things you can do for your kids in this time is to talk with them and help them process their difficult emotions. It is important that you have straightforward and honest communication with them, as being dishonest and confusing can negatively affect them in the long run.
When you have talked about hard feelings, provide your children with an appropriate amount of time to process and come up with questions. Be prepared for your kids to ask questions that you may not know the answers to. The best thing to do in these situations is to let your child know that you are working to find the answer.
It is important to note that these conversations are not a one-time thing. You will need to continue having discussions. See these times as a chance to touch base with your kids, and give them any updates that they may need.
Having a routine provides children with stability. When going through a big transition like divorce, having a routine in place can help them feel more secure and in control. When you are filing for divorce, think about the routines that are important to your child. For example, maybe they have a friend they enjoy spending time with or have a favorite afterschool activity.
While keeping up with the established routines is important, it is important to acknowledge that this may not always be the case during a divorce. Try to be creative when making compromises with your children, and keep things as similar as you possibly can.
Keep Them Involved
Another way to provide your children with a sense of control is to allow them to make decisions for themselves. This could be as simple as picking out their clothes for the day or creating a menu for family dinner. Giving your child the agency to make decisions will show them that their voice and opinions matter.
If your kids are older, they may be able to play a role in making decisions when it comes to divorce. They may have preferences as to where and how they would like to spend time with each parent, which can inform any visitation arrangements. Of course, these should only play a role if they are in accordance with the best interests of the child.
Have Fun Together
While divorce itself is not based on the concept of fun, that does not mean you should stop having it with your kids. Commit to having scheduled fun time with your kids, providing them with boosts during an otherwise difficult time. For example, maybe you order takeout and have movie nights a couple of times a week.
Don’t forget the value of spontaneity either. Surprising your kids with spur-of-the-moment activities demonstrates that you care for their emotional well-being. It could be as simple as taking them to the park one evening or staying up past bedtime for a trip to get ice cream.
Seek Additional Support
Sometimes it is necessary to provide your children with more external support. Let your children’s caretakers or teachers know about the divorce, so they can watch for any changes in behavior. If they begin to struggle in school, have outbursts, or seem withdrawn, it might be time to seek professional help.
A licsenced and trained therapist can provide your child with appropriate coping strategies, as well as assistance with emotional processing. It is okay to recognize that your child needs additional support.
Denver Family Lawyers Can Provide Legal Guidance
Are you preparing to go through a divorce and have children? It is important to have legal assistance to reach a fair child custody and visitation arrangement. The team at Denver Family Lawyers is here to help.
To schedule a consultation, call us at (303) 225-3343 or visit us online.