Divorce can be emotional, dramatic, and messy. It’s difficult for any adult to endure, but it’s even more impactful for children. Parents often overlook the importance of protecting children during a divorce. Here are a few things you can do to help your children through this difficult time.
1 – Don’t Argue Around Your Children
In the heat of the moment, we can get tunnel vision and forget about our surroundings. As a parent, you must be more conscious about interactions with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. One of the most upsetting things your kids can experience is hearing and watching you argue. Try to avoid this at all costs. If you need to argue, do so in private. Have the kids watch a movie in one room while you and your spouse discuss things in another part of the house. Send your kids over to a friend’s house for a playdate. Ask a friend or family member to babysit. Your kids are far too young to understand the complexity of your arguments and emotions, so make the effort to shield them from that experience.
2 – Don’t Discuss Divorce with Others While in Earshot of Your Kids
Avoid discussing your divorce near or around your kids. They hear and absorb much more than you realize. If you’re getting together with a friend while your kids are playing nearby, you assume they’re busy playing and not listening, but they are! With something as big as a divorce, your kids will eavesdrop at every possible moment. Even worse, they may hear something out of context or in bits-and-pieces, making the situation even more confusing to them. Be conscious of this and make sure any divorce conversations are conducted away from your children.
3 – Communicate With Your Children
Why do kids try so hard to listen in on your conversations? They want to know what’s going on and they assume you are not being truthful to them. Although we don’t recommend exposing your kids to the inner workings of your divorce, protecting children from divorce doesn’t mean lying to them or hiding information. It’s important that you communicate with your children. Help them understand what to expect and give them age-appropriate information.
4 – Come to an Agreement with Your Ex-Spouse
For the sake of your children, it’s critical that you work on communicating better with your spouse and come to an agreement on things pertaining to your children. For instance, agree not to argue in front of them or make them choose sides. Agree not to bad mouth the other parent or prevent children from maintaining a relationship with the other parent. Most importantly, give your children some say in the arrangement and to listen openly to their feelings and preferences. Protecting children during a divorce is very difficult. It takes time, effort, and a commitment from both parents.
5 – Get Counseling
Lastly, there may be some things that you can’t help your children with. Be sure to get counseling from experts. Whether you have an amicable or contentious divorce, it will impact your children deeply. They may not feel comfortable expressing their emotions and concerns to you, so make sure they have someone else to turn to. Providing this essential support now will reduce the trauma of your divorce and enable your children to grow into emotionally stable adults.
More Tips on Protecting Children During a Divorce
These are just a few ways of protecting children during a divorce. Depending on your personal circumstances, there may be other important steps you should take. Seeking counseling or therapy for yourself can help you be a better parent to your children during this difficult time. Whether it be from your divorce attorney, friends, family, or professionals, don’t be scared to ask for help and to take steps to lessen the impact of this life changing experiencing.
At DaMore Law, we understand how challenging divorce can be on everyone in the family. Please contact us for assistance with everything from pre- to post-divorce issues. We’re here to support you in all family law matters.