For many couples, the price tag of a divorce is frightening enough on its own, but when parents are divorcing, they face the much more frightening concerns of what will happen to their children as a result of their divorce. And there can be real risks of kids being scarred by a divorce, but there are also good chances that children will grow up in a healthier and stronger environment because of the divorce. It depends on how you handle this process. Here then are some tips on how to help your kids (and yourself) through this emotionally tumultuous time.
Telling Your Kids that You Are Going to Divorce
How you go about this will depend on how old your kids are. There are times when it will be best for your children to hear the news from the two of you together. No matter your children's age, there needs to be a consistent emphasis on the fact that you two will always be their parents and that you will always love them. For younger kids, about 3 to 5 years old, you may want to keep it short and sweet. Older kids may want more of an explanation, but just remember to not dump everything on them.
On top of reassuring your kids that your relationship with them will never end, your kids must also know that the divorce is in no way their faults. And no matter how strained your relationship with your spouse is, it is important that when your child asks you about the divorce separately that you keep from badmouthing your ex. You will only be harming your children by doing so. It is vital that your kids see you maintain a respectful and polite relationship with their other parent. Also remember that younger kids especially will continually ask you about what lies ahead, often repeating questions. They are seeking to be reassured, so be sure to give consistent answers.
Maintaining Stability for Your Children
You want to change as little as possible from your children, as they already face enough changes. They might be uprooted from their school and friends, relationships with extended relatives may be altered, and then they will have the stress of being shuttled back and forth between parents. If any changes in lifestyle, location, etc. are up ahead, you need to give your kids as much of a heads up as possible. In this way, they can be prepared to adjust. And everyone will have their own methods and timing for adjusting. It will take time, but adjustment will happen. Just be there for their kids, even if that means not forcing them to open up about emotions before they are ready. For some kids, airing their feelings to you or seeing a therapist will not help them, while these are beneficial to others. Be attentive to how your children adapt.
Co-Parenting After the Divorce
What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is something that parents with joint custody must create. It is both a schedule of
custody and an outline of major choices you will need to make for your child. This includes dividing custody for holidays, deciding trips to extended family, pickup times, etc., as well as how you will address issues concerning medical care, education, religion, upbringing, financial issues, and more.
As even married parents cannot expect to agree on all these matters, co-parenting after a divorce will not be a simple matter. Agreement is not always the goal however, but maintaining a nurturing atmosphere for your children is. Here are some tips on successful co-parenting:
- Pick your battles. No use wasting stress and stirring up conflict over small issues. For instance, remember that issues such as how your child is doing in school is a bigger deal than the snacks the other parent gives them.
- Give the other parent some space. Especially at the beginning. This is what you want for yourself, after all.
- In fact, find ways to encourage the other parent. That's a tough one, obviously, as you divorced for a reason. But when it comes to co-parenting, it's about your kids, and their wellbeing is something you and your ex can agree you're working for. If you can keep things as cordial as possible, pointing out what they're doing right, then the easier your continued contact with your ex will be, and the better things will be for your kids.
If your own ego gets in the way, if you and your ex cannot call a truce when the kids are around, and if you force you kids into the middle of a continued conflict, you can be inflicting a great deal of lasting pain on your children. Be mature. Set a good example for your kids. And you will all be the happier for it.
Getting a Fair Result in Your Divorce
The terms of your divorce create not only your future, but the future for your children as well. While dragging your family through a court battle is almost always detrimental, there are other ways you may have to assert your rights with the help of a skilled attorney, in order that your children's rights are protected as well. If you have already finalized a divorce and child support is not being paid by the other parent, or if your circumstances have changed and the original terms of your divorce are now unfair to your family, then you may need to go back and
modify your divorce settlement. You can find legal help that you deserve from a divorce lawyer in Long Island when you
contact the Meyers Law Group, P.C. today!