Helping Children Adjust to Divorce
Parents ultimately want what is best for their children and strive to provide that for them. Unfortunately, when it comes to divorce, emotions can influence decisions and cloud judgments. Additionally, children are the ones who end up suffering the most when this happens.
A family goes through several changes during and after a divorce, and it is important to remember the toll these changes can take on children. Anger, guilt, confusion, and fear are often felt by children of divorce. However, there are steps parents can take to help children acclimate to a new family situation and adjust to all of these changes.
It is important for parents to realize that they are no longer one family unit and their children's perceptions of who they are and where their place is in the family, may be broken. Children need assurances and reassurances of how important they are and that they are still both parents’ number one priority.
Children may feel responsible for the divorce, so it is especially critical for parents to also reassure their children that a divorce had nothing to do with anything they did or did not do.
Children also need to feel safe, and a divorce may leave them feeling vulnerable, especially if the emotional changes are being compounded with economic changes. Establishing and maintaining a predictable routine can help children feel their world is safe even if mommy and daddy are no longer together.
Creating structure is also important. Parents often feel guilty about the effect the divorce is having on their children, but it is important to set boundaries and enforce those boundaries.
Finally, as difficult and emotionally trying as a divorce may be on a parent, children should not be used as a confident and should not be aware of how upset or fragile a parent may be feeling. Children should never be expected to deal with adult issues or be the emotional support for their parents. As one family adviser wrote, “Let kids be kids.”
If you considering divorce, there are several issues that may need negotiated, especially if children are involved. Contact an experienced Geneva family law attorney today to discuss your options and needs.