Five Ways To Help Your Children Deal With Divorce
The breakup of a marriage is never easy, even if there has been a lengthy separation or the choice to divorce was mutual. When children are involved, it makes a difficult situation even harder. If you or someone you know is going through a marital separation or is planning on getting a divorce, it is important to be aware of the potential impacts it can have on little ones as well as older children. Divorce is something that you and your children can get through, but it takes effort and honest communication. The following is important information you need to be aware of regarding the potential ways in which children can act out when their parents are going through a divorce, as well as tips on how you can help them deal with this life changing situation.
Children’s Reactions to Divorce
Divorce is unfortunately common today and, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), roughly half of all couples eventually end up seeking divorce or separation. While children may already be familiar with the process of divorce through friends or other family members, it can still come as a shock when it happens to their own family. Parents who are experiencing marital problems or who are contemplating divorce often are preoccupied with their own very real problems, including issues pertaining to alimony, custody, and child support. The AACAP advises parents to be careful not to neglect their own children’s feelings about what is going on at this time, and to be alert for the ways in which children may act out. Some of the problems children exhibit when their parents’ divorce includes the following:
- Isolating from friends and withdrawing socially from activities;
- Doing poorly in school;
- Having outbursts of anger;
- Experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression; and
- Being rebellious, perhaps getting into trouble with school and local authorities.
Ways to Help Children Cope With Divorce
While going through a divorce is a traumatic event in a child’s life, there are ways that parents can help them get through it. Based on guidelines from the AACAP, the following are five ways you can help your children cope with divorce:
- Let your children know what is happening. Do not try to hide the fact that you and your spouse are divorcing, and do not wait until the last minute to tell them.
- Tell them together. Remind them that although your marriage is breaking up, you will both continue to be their parents.
- Be honest about your problems, but be careful not to badmouth your spouse in front of your children.
- Describe how things will work under the new living arrangements, and reassure your children that they will continue to spend time with both parents. Psychology Today advises getting a calendar and marking the times they will spend with the non-custodial parent, such as weekday visits and weekend sleepovers.
- When life seem out of control, it helps to have a routine. Keep a regular schedule in terms of homework and chores, and continue to participate in hobbies or recreational activities on a regular basis.
Above all else, provide steady reassurance that you love them and will continue to be there for them. Let them express and acknowledge their feelings of sadness or anger, while assuring them that you will get through this together.
Let Us Help You Today
If you or someone you care about is contemplating a separation or divorce, contact a passionate Florida family law lawyer today. At the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III, our lawyers and staff provide the caring, professional legal service you need to ensure your rights are protected. Serving the entire Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie, Vero Beach, Saint Lucie, and Indian River Counties, we are prepared to help. Call us today at (772) 595-6654 for a free consultation.